Brought here from Spain in the 17th century and planted for its ability to thrive in urban conditions (thanks to its bark, which sheds in large flakes, preventing the tree from becoming suffocated under sulphurous grime), the London plane is a hybrid of the Oriental plane and the American plane.
Its large, bright-green serrated leaves are up to 6in or more across, set alternately on the stem and not in opposite pairs.
As well as feasting on the nectar and pollen, insects love to drink the honeydew deposited by aphids on the tree’s delicate, heart-shaped leaves, which have tiny tufts of white hair in the vein axils.
Its narrow, oval, elongated leaves are shorter than those of the white willow and it’s dioecious, with male and female flowers seen on sep- arate trees in May—male catkins are yellow and female catkins green.
It seems ironic that the billowing, once widespread English elm used to be associated with melancholy and death (possibly because dead branches can fall without warning), only for it to be ravaged by Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s.
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Often spotted in hedgerows, it can be identified by the five, rounded lobes of its olive leaves—which fade to ochre in autumn—svelte twigs and light-brown, flaky bark.
Its flowers appear to be hermaphrodite, but they’re dominated by either male or female sexual parts, which are small, yellow-green, cup-shaped and hang in clusters.Set apart by its generous trunk, sturdy, crooked branches and expansive crown, the female flowers bloom on upright stalks, with the male equivalent appearing as hanging catkins.Acorns develop, usually in pairs, next to alternate and distinctively scalloped stalkless leaves that have ear-like lobes at the base.We take no responsibility for the content on any website which we link to.We take no responsibility for the phrases entered by surfers.Ball-shaped male and female flowers flourish on the same tree, albeit on different stems.