Platanus x acerifolia

London Planetree




  • result of a cross between P. orientalis and P. occidentalis
  • zone 5

Habit and Form

  • a large, deciduous tree
  • maximum heights to 70 or 80' tall
  • spread typically matches the height
  • pyramidal in youth
  • more widespreading with age
  • shape is rounded
  • branching is upright and spreading

Summer Foliage

  • leaves are alternate and simple
  • 6" to 7" long and up to 10" wide
  • 3- to 5-lobed
  • sparingly or coarsely tooted margins
  • shape overall is "maple-like"
  • leaf color is medium to dark green

Autumn Foliage

  • turning yellow-brown


  • monoecious, with separate male and female flowers
  • blooms in April
  • not ornamentally important


  • 1" diameter fruits
  • actually a multiple fruit of achemes
  • borne in 2's and 3's
  • change from green to brown in October
  • persist in winter


  • very ornamentally attractive
  • exfoliates in plates, revealing creamy yellow inner bark


  • easily transplanted
  • best in deep, moist, fertile soil, but very adaptable
  • full sun
  • pollution tolerant

Landscape Use

  • lawn tree
  • street tree when large spaces are available
  • good for difficult growing sites
  • good urban tree
  • for shade
  • for decoration from showy bark


  • can be pollarded and pleached readily
  • canker strains is a serious problem
  • anthracnose, although generally not as bad as on P. occidentalis
  • anthracnose-resistant cultivars should be used
  • cold injury in harsh winters
  • powdery mildew
  • American plum borer
  • sycamore lacebug

ID Features

  • buds conical, covered by a single scale
  • leaf scars completely surround the buds
  • petiole base covers buds during the growing season
  • has creamy yellow inner bark
  • fruit in clusters of 2 or 3's and pointed individual seeds, white
  • P. occidentalis has white inner bark, fruit borne singly and blunt individual seeds


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Bloodgood' - This is a popular selection and one of the first cultivars to be selected for anthracnose resistance, though reports vary regarding this trait. It is a large, rounded tree to 60' tall with deep green leaves that turn a poor yellow in fall. The plant tolerates poor cultural conditions, including heat/drought and poor soil. Recent observations indicate susceptibility to ozone, which may limit its use in urban environments.

'Columbia' - A tough plant that resists mildew and anthracnose, this pyramidal selection reaches 50' tall and features deeply-lobed, dark green leaves. It is known to tolerate heavy pruning, plus it heals wounds well.

'Liberty' - A U.S. National Arboretum introduction, this pyramidal grower reaches 50' and grows vigorously. It show good tolerance for mildew, anthracnose, heat and drought.

'Metzam' (Metroshade™) - A new introduction that grows very strongly to 70' tall with a pyramidal habit, this cultivar is also notable for its disease resistance and handsome lustrous green foliage that emerges with a reddish cast.

'Mirkovec' - A very unusual selection out of Europe, this plant has a dwarf, shrubby habit and unusual variegated lobed leaves with pink, cream and bronze regions. It is not commonly available.

'Yarwood' - Early results indicate that this may be the finest of the new introductions. It is tolerant of poor environmental conditions and resists disease. In addition, it exhibits fine ornamental attributes such as uniform pyramidal habit, dark green leaves and early development of attractive exfoliating bark.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.