Freitag, 13. Januar 2012

Plant of the Day (January 13rd, 2012) - Platanus x hispanica Miller ex. Münchh.

Today, I've a new tree for you. It's Platanus x hispanica Miller ex Münchh (or Plantanus acerifolia (Ailton) Wille.)  from the Platanaceae family. Common English names of this species are “London plane” or “London planetree”, while common German names are “Gewöhnliche Platane” “Ahornblättrige Platane” or “Bastard Platane”

Platanus x hispanica  - is a typical tree in parks

This tree can reach a height until 35 metres (114.8 feet), so it's a big one with a wide crown. The bark of young trees is dark-grey. With age, this bark will fall off into plates. The new, younger bark underneath is yellowish-grey. The leaves are lobed with 3 – 5 deep lobes and sharp ends. The margin is even. So, you can see, that these leaves looks very similar to the leaves of Acer platanoides L. Actually, this is also the reason for the Latin names of both species: “acerifolia” means “similar to acer”, while “platanoides” means something like “looks like a plane”

P. x hispanica - stem with typical, peeling bark

Flowering time is in May. The inflorescence are inconspicuous, small catkins. The flowers are dioecious with male and female ones. Male flowers are greenish, female are carmine. The fruit is compound fruit, which is composed of small, cylindrical nuts. These compound fruits are hanging in groups from long stalks and have spiky, rough surface.

P. x hispanica - leaf (note the similarity to a maple leaf)

P. x hispanica is a hybrid of Platanus orientalis L. (oriental plane) and Platanus occidentalis L. (American plane). In Europe, it's a very popular tree in cities, because it has a high tolerance toward air pollution, smog and dense soils. So, trees are planted in parks, at roadsides or public places and so on.

P. x hispanica - compound fruits

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