Oriental plane

The oriental plane had arrived in England by 1562. It was reported that the finest specimen known belonged to Bishop Gunning at Ely in 1764.

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Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis) outside the Orangery

Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis)

Did you know?

  • The tree of Hippocrates, under which the ancient Greek physician taught medicine at Kos, is reputed to have been an oriental plane tree.
  • The London plane, which is used extensively as an ornamental tree in the capital and other cites, is thought to be a cross between the oriental and eastern planes. It is well suited to urban life as it can tolerate pollution, drought, pruning and compacted soil.
  • The base of the leaf petiole covers the entire bud during the growing season to protect it from disease and insects.

Historical information

Kew’s specimen of the oriental plane (Platanus orientalis) is located next to the Orangery, in front of Kew Palace. It most probably came from the Duke of Argyll’s Whitton estate in 1762 following his death. It stood against the eastern wall of the White House, a mansion inhabited by Princess Augusta that once stood alongside Kew Palace.



About this species

The tree’s native range extends at least from Asia Minor to Iran and possibly from Iberia to the Himalaya. It grows naturally beside rivers, where it is often found beside alder, willow and poplar. However, it can tolerate dryer conditions once established. A tall, wide tree, its maple-like leaves lie horizontally, making it perfect for providing shade. Other characteristics include flaking bark and round, spiky fruits.


1 comment on 'Oriental plane'

GillianYoung says

18/11/2011 8:34:17 PM | Report abuse

This specimen at Kew is truly awesome. I drew it yesterday in full sunlight and its pendulous branches threw out little leaves that looked like stars in the autumn sunlight.

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