Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

2 June 2010

Relax in the shade of a London Plane Tree

Known for their tolerance of vehicle pollution, the London Plane is a common kerbside tree in our capital, and is also visible in countless parks and gardens. Apart from the bits which fall off and get in your author's eyes on bike rides at this time of year, he is a fan.

The London plane is a hybrid of an Oriental plane and an American plane, is deciduous, and grows up to 20–35 m tall, with trunks of up to 3m in circumference. They are common in other cities, such as Paris, where readers will be unsurprised to hear they are not referred to as London Planes.

Characteristically, they can be spotted by their pairs of round spiky nuts, and their flaky pale grey-green bark, which flakes away and helps the tree cope with all the pollution.

If they could just get the bits which get in your author's eyes sorted, they'd be perfect, and that is only really a problem on windy days. For more on the London Plane, see the fantastic Trees of London website at http://www.londontrees.co.uk/london-plane.html

^Picture by wlcutler^


  1. I like the London plane trees a lot but I'm told by my partner that the pollen they produce is particularly allergenic. Where I live in east London, the council is experimenting with less severe pollarding of the pavement planes, allowing the branches to tower upwards much higher than before.

  2. Yeah, I have heard this too. The pollen and the little bits are a real pain, but the pretty trees do make up for it.

  3. I call them "sneezy trees". I have never had seasonal allergies before moving to London, but these guys make me sneeze, itch, cough, and my eyes itch like crazy. If I relaxed in the shade of one it would be very hazardous to my health!

  4. You poor thing Caitlin. Admittedly, this is a problem, but on aesthetics alone they are a winner.

  5. I'm a window cleaner in south London, when I was a smoker 9yrs ago I had no problems with the London plane tree. now my eyes ears nose and every were is a problem itchy sneeze,
    Thankfully our local authority trim them up every 2 years this seems to work,