Platanus orientalis L.

Oriental plane

Family: Platanaceae
54º 34.959N
5º 56.078W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

The oriental plane is native to SE Europe from the Balkans as far east as Iran. It is often found in damp situations growing with alder and willows, but will also grow well in dry soils. It has been spread to many parts of the world where it is valued as a shade tree. It is sometimes used as a street tree, but eventually develops a wide branching pattern. It is thought to be the tree under which Hippocrates taught his students, called the tree of Kos. A seedling of the original tree of Kos has been planted outside the Cancer Centre of Belfast City Hospital. Although not as old as the tree illustrated here in the Botanic Gardens, the City Hospital tree has developed into a very fine and, with its provenance, historically important example of the species. The oriental plane is one of the parents of the hybrid London plane Platanus x acerifolia. Younger trees have the flaking bark that is also seen in the hybrid London plane, although the trunks will sometimes develop numerous burrs as has happened in the Belfast Botanic Gardens specimen and also in a very similar tree in the grounds of Trinity College Dublin.

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2014 and 2015. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.