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London PlanetreePlatanus x acerifolia

  • London Planetree - Platanus x acerifolia
  • London Planetree - Platanus x acerifolia
  • London Planetree - Platanus x acerifolia
  • London Planetree Platanus x acerifolia
  • London Planetree - Platanus x acerifolia

The London planetree is a widely planted street tree, and for good reason. Its attributes were discovered in London where the new hybrid first appeared around 1645. The tree was found to thrive in the sooty air and provide wonderful shade. Its ability to withstand air pollution, drought and other adversities assures its popularity as an urban tree. Strong limbs also help make the London planetree a good choice where site conditions allow for its large size.

Beyond its reputation as a survivor, this tree is simply worth admiring. The unique bark and interesting branching give it amazing visual appeal—whether summer or winter.

Hardiness Zones

The london planetree can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a shade tree, featuring a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight.

Mature Size

The London planetree grows to a height of 75–100' and a spread of around 80' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The London planetree grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Tolerates pollution and other urban conditions well.
  • Transplants easily.
  • Is resistant to anthracnose.
  • Develops a mottled bark with red-brown scales that flake to reveal green, white and creamy yellow.
  • Features large leaves up to 7" long and 10" wide that are sparingly toothed along the edges. They somewhat resemble the leaves of black, sugar and red maples.
  • Produces inconspicuous red flowers in April as the leaves unfurl.
  • Yields pendulous ball-like clusters of tightly packed seed approximately 1" in diameter.
  • Lives longer than many other shade trees in urban settings.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape that shifts to a more oval silhouette over time.
  • Is not suitable for small areas.

Wildlife Value

The pendant seed balls are used by purple finches, goldfinches and squirrels.


The London planetree is believed to have resulted from a cross between the Oriental planetree and the American sycamore. While the exact details of the tree’s origin have been lost over time, it was discovered that this hybrid could tolerate the smoke and grime of London. As a result, it has been widely distributed to cities throughout the moderate climate regions of the world for nearly 400 years.