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.
Native geographic location and habitat:
This tree is of hybrid origin, a cross between the native sycamore and the non-native Asian planetree.
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 inches wide and are leathery leaves that have three to five lobes, similar to maple. The leaf surface is bright green and paler underneath and the 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, a bright burgundy-red. They are not ornamentally important.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:
Ball-like seed heads that are 1 inch diameter hang in pairs from long stalks. Seeds shatter during winter months.
London planetree grows best in moist, deep, and rich well-drained soil in full sun. Does not tolerate shady sites. It is adaptable to soil pH and moderately salt and drought tolerant. It 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, scale insects, 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 London planetree (Platanus x acerifolia ‘Bloodgood’):
This cultivar shows some resistance to anthracnose.
Exclamation!™ London planetree (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™ London planetree (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.