London plane, hybrid plane (Eng), plátano de sombra, plátano de paseo, plátano (Spa), plàtan (Cat), albo (Baq), pradeiro (Glg), plátano (Por).
“This port [...] is located in one of three deep clefts that cut the Ionian and Aegean Sea, the plane leaf that has been compared with much accuracy to southern Greece”.
‘Archipelago on fire’, Jules Verne
A large tree that can be more than 40 m tall. It has a straight trunk and dense crown that casts a deep shade. Its bark is characteristically a mosaic of green, gray and yellow tones, which peels off easily in large sheets. The leaves are deciduous, simple, alternate and palmate with 5 lobes that have sharp irregular points. They are large and measure 12-22 cm in length and 12-30 cm in width. The young leaves have a dense tomentum that is lost with age. The base of the leaf stalk is cap-shaped to protect the following year's leaf bud. The fruits are compound and globose, and measure 3-5 cm in diameter. They hang down and generally appear in pairs. These balls often remain on the tree when winter comes. They subsequently fall apart and contain many seeds with fine hairs (achenes) that aid their dispersal by the wind. The alternate arrangement of the leaves and the type of fruit allows us to differentiate this species from the Iberian maples that have similar leaves: Acer pseudoplatanus L. and Acer platanoides L. As you can see, the Latin name of both these species alludes to the similarity of the leaves to those of the London plane.
This species requires light soils with sufficient moisture, but can withstand the precarious conditions found in cities and sometimes occurs in poorly drained or compacted soils. It is resistant to atmospheric pollution and pruning, even resprouting from the trunk when it has been cut down.
This tree is native to the eastern Mediterranean, southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is widely distributed as an ornamental; it is found across the region and easily becomes established in the wild on river banks and in thickets, especially in the north of the peninsula.