(09) London Plane

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  • Species
    • London Plane
  • Botanical Name
    • Platinus x acerfolia
  • Location
    • Beside the roundabout at the junction of Lower Road and Cobham Road.
    • Grid Reference: TQ 15558, 56164
    • Latitude, Longitude: 51.292892, -0.34408870
    • What3 Words: digs.still.trains
  • Girth (circumference of trunk at 1.5m height)
    • 4.37 meters
  • Estimated Age
    • 181 years
  • Identification
    • Plane trees have a tall main trunk and spreading branches. With age the lower trunk becomes bulbous and gnarled so it may only be higher up in the branches that the typical camouflage pattern can be seen on the bark. The leaves are large with 5-pointed lobes. The fruit are round and hairy and remain dangling on their long stalks all winter, not falling off until the following spring.
  • About this species
    • Despite its name this is not a native tree. It is a cross between the oriental plane and American sycamore and was introduced into this country in 1650 by John Tradescant the Elder. It is a vigorous hybrid which grows twice as fast as an oak tree. Its distinctive green-brown bark peels off in flakes allowing it to shed pollution, making it an ideal street tree. In addition it will put up with a lot of mistreatment such as paving and tarmac closely surrounding the trunk. It gives dappled shade and is therefore popular in city squares or avenues.
  • Local information
    • There are several large plane trees in Fetcham including one outside Fetcham Infants School. Try collecting the leaves and use for stencilling or other wild art. The maple-like leaves are large and colourful. They are also slow to decompose and therefore not good for leaf litter.

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