Content Detail

London planetree is a hybrid resulting from a cross between the native sycamore and the non-native Asian planetree. Like sycamore, this is a large tree with beautiful peeling bark.

  • Family (English) Sycamore; planetree
  • Family (botanic) Platanaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Restricted sites, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 70-100 feet
  • Mature width 65-80 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Broad, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Birds, Insect pollinators, Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

This tree is of hybrid origin.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is unique, gray-brown, with flaky scales that shed to expose mottled peeling patches of white, gray, and green. Trees become nearly white near the top of the tree.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are simple, and  alternate.  They grow 6 to 7 inch wide and are leathery leaves that have 3 to 5 lobes, similar to maple. The leaf surface is bright green and paler underneath and margins are untoothed or nearly so. Fall color is yellow-brown.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are monoecious, with separate male and female flowers. Flowers appear in early spring with the leaves as dense globose balls on long stalks (peduncles). Male flowers are green and females are showier, bright burgundy-red. They are not ornamentally important

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Ball-like seed heads (1 inch diameter) hang in pairs from long stalks. Seeds shatter during winter months.

Plant care: 

London planetree grows best in moist, deep, and rich well-drained soil in full sun. Does not tolerate shady sites. Soil pH adaptable, moderately salt and drought tolerant, and can be a messy tree since it drops a lot of leaves, twigs and fruit.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

This tree can be affected by canker stain, anthracnose, leaf spots, aphids, plant bug, scales, and borers. Young plants can be susceptible to frost cracks. It is tolerant of high pH soil. Some cultivars vary in their resistance to anthracnose (see cultivars below). 

‘Bloodgood’ (Platanus x acerifolia ‘Bloodgood’):

This cultivar shows some resistance to anthracnose

Exclamation!™ (Platanus x acerifolia ‘Morton Circle’):  

This cultivar is resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking. The habit is more uniform and upright than the species.  Grows 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. Introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, Inc.

Ovation™  (Platanus x acerifolia ‘Morton Euclid’): 

This cultivar is also resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking. The habit is rounded to broadly pyramidal. Grows 60 feet high by 50 feet wide. Introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, Inc.

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