Platanus x acerifolia (London Plane Tree)

Michael's Opinion

Drought, salt, and pollution tolerant as well as the ability to grow with a small root zone. It is no surprise that in 1920, 60% of the trees planted in London, England were P. x acerfolia. It still remains a popular street tree throughout Europe.

Botanical Information

Speciesx acerifolia
OriginIn 1680 London, England P. x acerfolia was identified as a natural hybrid of P. occidentalis and P. orientalis.


USDA Hardiness Zone5
USDA Hardiness Ref.
Canadian Hardiness Zone6
Canada Hardiness Ref.
RHS Hardiness Ref.
Temperature (°C)-23 C
Temperature (°F)-10 F
Flowering PeriodApril

Description and Growing Information

General DescriptionThe most common and widespread Plane Tree, P. x acerfolia has the best characteristics of both its parents.
ID CharacteristicOften confused with P. occidentalis, P. x acerfolia has paired fruits and leaf lobes that are roughly as long as they are wide.
ShapeIn youth pyramidal and round, wide spreading as it matures.
LandscapeA great urban tree where crown space is available. It is tolerant of pollution, salt, and drought.
PropagationBy hardwood cuttings in autumn, leafy softwood cuttings in spring, or seed; however seeds require light to germinate.
CultivationEasy to transplant and prefers moist, fertile soils in full sun. However, trees are adaptable.
Pests Plane wilt (Ceratocytis platani).powdery mildew, American plum borer, sycamore lace bug, and anthracnose, although P. x acerfolia is more resistant then P. occidentalis.
Notable SpecimensHeritage Trees in Elgin County have noted a specimen at Elmdale Cemetery on Elm St, St Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
HabitatHorticultural origin.
Bark DescriptionSmooth brown green scales flake off to show the creamy yellow inner bark.
Bud DescriptionSingle scaled, 6-10 mm, shiny red brown buds that never appear at twig tips.
Leaf DescriptionMaple like, 3-5 shallowly lobed, 13-25 cm across, few large teeth, shiny green with pale underside.
Flower DescriptionUnisexual with flower clusters on separate branchlets that bloom in April. Male flowers are 7-10 mm, yellow green, and appear on second year wood. Female flowers are 10-14 mm, red, and form in spring with leaves on the tips of older twigs.
Fruit DescriptionSlender stalks, 8-16 cm, hang as double yellow-brown balls 2-3.5 cm.
Colour DescriptionGreen leaves in the summer that turn yellow in the autumn with red buds and multi coloured bark, P. x acerfolia has interest year round.
Texture DescriptionCoarse texture with its wide spreading zigzag branches.