London Plane tree


I am very interested in knowing the history of London Plane trees in Toronto and southern Ontario.  They are truly majestic with a striking contrast in bark colouring.  I believe this species is ‘native’ to Iran and points east from there.



London Planetree (Platanus x acerifolia) with its camouflage trunk and smooth branches, always stands out in the city.

The history of the plant is interesting.  The first record of the tree was in 1663 when the hybrid was found growing in London.  It is widely planted in Europe and especially England where in London it is the dominant street and park tree.

The origins of this deciduous resident of Britain’s capital city are not entirely clear.  While some authorities suggest it is a variety of the western plane (Platanus orientalis), it is most likely to be a hybrid between this and the eastern plane (Platanus occidentalis).  But even assuming this is the case, it is still uncertain as to whether the hybrid occurred naturally in Britain or whether it was first brought over from Spain.

For further reading on this lovely tree see the books and websites listed below:


The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town By Arthur Plotnik in consultation with the Morton Arboretum – Pages 60-67

Sheridan Nurseries: One Hundred Years of People, Plans and Plants By Ed Butts and Karl E. Stensson.

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants By Michael A. Dirr – Page 754


The Philadelphia Historic Plants Consortium.







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