Tree of the Week: London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia)

December 17, 2012

by Jonathan Fillmore

This week’s tree of the week is the London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia). The London Plane Tree is a stately shade tree growing to a height of 70 feet tall. The mature bark is a stunning pale grey with exfoliating brown bark. The leaves resemble the look of a maple having a palmately lobed leaf. However, unlike a maple leaf, the London Plane Tree leaf has a fuzzy back, giving it unique character.

London Plane Tree

Being a zone 5 tree, The London Plane Tree is not commonly seen in Minnesota as it is not hardy to our northern climate. However, there are a few London Plane Trees scattered throughout St. Paul and Minneapolis. The slightly warmer temperature of the cities is often just enough for the London Plane Tree to survive harsh Minnesota winters.The vigorous growth of the London Plane Tree is quite typical for this species. The London Plane Tree is often used as a street tree in warmer climates due to its vigorous growth and ability to withstand high compaction and atmospheric pollution. 

London Plane Tree

The number of tough tree species for urban situations is becoming less with the loss of American elm to Dutch elm disease and the more recent loss of Ash species to emerald ash borer. Both American elm and ash trees were extremely common street trees due to similar tough qualities the London Plane Tree has. With fewer and fewer street trees to withstand the tough street conditions, it is important to test the winter hardiness of different tough trees like team tree is doing with the London Plane Tree.

All photos and references are used for educational purposes only


  1. Fonghong.”Platanus acerifolia trunk.” Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, 11 June 2005. Digital Image. 22 December 2017. <>.

  2. Bendel, Muriel.”Platanus x hispanica bark.” Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, 12 Feb. 2011. Digital Image. 22 December 2017. <>.

  3. Mehlich, Jan. “Platan klonolistny.” Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, 27 Sep. 2006. Digital Image. 22 Dec. 2017. <>.

  4. Fir0002 ”London Plane Flower.” Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia, n.d. Digital Image. 22 Dec. 2017. <>.