Platanus

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Platanus
Plataan bladeren.jpg
Leaves and fruit of a London plane
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Platanaceae
Genus: Platanus
L.

Platanus is a genus of plants, which mostly occur on the Northern Hemisphere. All of them are trees, which reach heights between 30 metres (98 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft). There are eight to ten recent species of Platanus, and at least three extinct ones.

In English, these trees are called planes or plane trees. Some North American species are called sycamores, but this name is also used for a species of fig.

London plane[change | change source]

The London plane, Platanus × acerifolia, is a hybrid or a cultivar. Exactly what the parents were in uncertain. It was extensively planted on London streets before WWII, but is no longer in favour. The London plane is very tolerant of air pollution and root compaction (small space for roots). For these reasons it was a popular urban roadside tree. Now, however, it is indirectly something of a pest. Aphids in their millions suck sap from its leaves, and drop sugary liquid onto cars parked underneath. Older London streets have virtually no off-road parking.

Images[change | change source]