fbpx London planetree | The Morton Arboretum

London planetree

Leaves of London planetree.

London planetree is a hybrid resulting from a cross between the native sycamore and the non-native Asian planetree. Like sycamore, this is a large tree with beautiful peeling bark.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Platanus x acerifolia

All common names:

London planetree

Family (English):

Sycamore; planetree

Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Restricted sites

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

70-100 feet

Mature Width:

65-80 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil,
  • Wet soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Showy fruit,
  • Attractive bark

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • midwinter,
  • late winter,
  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Broad,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Birds,
  • Insect pollinators,
  • Small mammals

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Plants grow best in moist, deep, rich well-drained soil in full sun. Does not tolerate shady sites.
Soil pH adaptable, moderately salt and drought tolerant.
Can be a messy tree since drops a lot of leaves, twigs and fruit.

Disease, pests, and problems

Can be affected by canker stain,  anthracnose, leafspots, aphids, plant bug,  scales, and borers.
Young plants can be susceptible to frost cracks.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Some cultivars vary in their resistance to anthracnose (see cultivars below).
Tolerant of high pH soil.

Native geographic location and habitat

Of hybrid origin.

Bark color and texture 

Unique, gray-brown flaky scales that shed to expose mottled peeling patches of white, gray, and green. Trees become nearly white near the top of tree.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate, 6 to 7 inch wide leathery leaves have 3 to 5 lobes, similar to maple.
The leaf surface is bright green and paler underneath;  margins are untoothed or nearly so.
Fall color is yellow-brown.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Monoecious, with separate male and female flowers. Flowers appear in early spring with the leaves as dense globose balls on long stalks (peduncles).
Male flowers are green , females are showier, bright burgundy-red.

Not ornamentally important

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Ball-like seed heads (1 inch diameter)  hang in pairs from long stalks. Seeds shatter during winter months.

Cultivars and their differences 

'Bloodgood' (Platanus x acerifolia 'Bloodgood'): Shows some resistance to anthracnose. 

Exclamation!(Platanus x acerifolia 'Morton Circle'):  This cultivar is resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking.  The habit is more uniform and upright than the species.  Grows 60 feet high and 30 feet wide.  Introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, Inc.

Ovation™  (Platanus x acerifolia 'Morton Euclid'):  This cultivar is also resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking.  The habit is rounded to broadly pyramidal. Grows 60 feet high by 50 feet wide.   Introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, Inc.

Location of Platanus x acerifolia (London planetree) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.