London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerfolia)


Quick Facts

  • Popular urban tree grown for its pollution tolerance and decorative bark
  • Hybrid of Oriental Plane Tree and American Sycamore
  •  Hybrid was first discovered in London, 1645
  • The leaf is the symbol for NYC Parks and Recreation logo
  • In NYC London Plane Trees account for 10% of all street trees


The peeling of the bark creates a mosaic pattern of gray, green, and cream on its trunk. Its leaves are broad and like the scientific name describes the leaves are broad and maple like in look. The leaves are a deep green on one side and a faded green on the other; they are large, tough leaves, they are wider than they are long and lobed like maples.  The petiole base encloses the lateral bud that is only revealed once the leaf falls. Although London plane trees resemble maples, the plane tree has alternating leaves whereas maples are opposite. In April the tree flowers, the fruit is a deep red round ball about one inch in diameter which contain compacted seeds.