Platanus x hispanica #5 at Bute Park

Platanus x hispanica 0

Platanus x hispanica
late April 2022

Grid reference ST 17776 76677
Common name London plane
Common name Maple-leaved plane
Alternative name Platanus x acerifolia
Alternative name Platanus x hybrida
Origin Garden origin
Deciduous Yes
Missing tag 2034
Height 32M April 2022
Girth 532cm April 2022
Reference 829

This tree at the west edge of the Blackfriars site.

The approximate age of this tree is calculated by estimating its lifetime growing conditions and measuring its girth.[1]

The age calculation has been made on the basis that this ground is a "good" site for London Plane trees. The ground is a past river flood plain with some river stones and silt and the tree receives plenty of light. The ground is relatively uncompacted.

Doing the calculation on the basis of this being a good site, the tree is estimated to be approximately 197 years old in 2022, and therefore started growing around 1825. If the site were considered only average, the age would be approximately 241 years old in 2022, and therefore the tree started growing around 1781.

The tree clearly predates the work of Andrew Pettigrew, who took up his post in Cardiff as Head Gardener to the third Marquis of Bute in 1873. There appears to be no record the landscaping of this area before Pettigrew.

General tree description

Platanus x hispanica can grow to 35 metres or more and live for several hundred years. Its bark is olive green to grey, with large scaly plates that peel off to reveal a creamy bark underneath. The leaves are maple-like, thick and leathery, up to 20 cm long and wide, with five triangular lobes. They turn a rich orange-yellow before falling in autumn. Bauble-like fruits hang in clusters from early summer to the following spring. The origin of Platanus x hispanica is not certain. It is thought to be a hybrid of the oriental plane and the American plane, and was brought to Britain from Spain in the 17th century. The earliest specimens in London are believed to be those in Berkeley Square planted in 1789.

Sources of Information

  1. Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain