1. Family: Platanaceae T.Lestib.
    1. Genus: Platanus L.
      1. Platanus orientalis L.

        A tree with widely spreading branches, maple-like leaves and flaky bark, oriental plane is also noted for its dangling, spiky round clusters of fruits. The Tree of Hippocrates, under which the ancient Greek physician taught medicine at Kos, is reputed to have been an oriental plane tree. The common or London plane ( Platanus × hispanica) is allegedly a hybrid of P. orientalis and P. occidentalis (American plane) and is a popular ornamental in towns and cities outside the tropics due in part to its ability to withstand air pollution, drought and compacted soil.

    [KSP]
    General Description
    Native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia, oriental plane is a long-lived tree with widely spreading branches and spiky round fruits.

    A tree with widely spreading branches, maple-like leaves and flaky bark, oriental plane is also noted for its dangling, spiky round clusters of fruits. The Tree of Hippocrates, under which the ancient Greek physician taught medicine at Kos, is reputed to have been an oriental plane tree. The common or London plane ( Platanus × hispanica) is allegedly a hybrid of P. orientalis and P. occidentalis (American plane) and is a popular ornamental in towns and cities outside the tropics due in part to its ability to withstand air pollution, drought and compacted soil.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Oriental plane is native from southeast Europe (including Italy, Sicily, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Crete and possibly Turkey) to northern Iran. It is also widely cultivated in temperate regions.

    Description

    Overview - A large, deciduous tree with a spreading crown, growing up to 30 m tall. Young branches are yellow-brown and hairy; older branches are hairless. The bark peels off from the trunk in large plates.

    Leaves- Are deeply divided into 3, 5 or 7 lobes with coarsely toothed margins.

    Flowers- Individual flowers are inconspicuous, but are borne in dense, spherical clusters hanging down on a long peduncle (stalk). Male flowers have stamens (pollen-bearing parts) that are much longer than the petals. Female flowers have long styles (female parts) that are ruffled at the tip.

    Fruits- Fruiting branchlets usually bear 3 to 5 round, spiky clusters of fruits 2.0–2.5 cm in diameter.

    Threats and conservation

    Although listed as of Least Concern (LC) on a global basis, according to IUCN Red List criteria, Platanus orientalis is considered to be endangered in parts of its range as a result of the expansion of agriculture and irrigation schemes leading to disruption of water courses.

    Uses

    Oriental plane has been cultivated widely in temperate areas on account of its attractive, flaky bark, widely spreading, shade-creating crown and maple-like leaves. It has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Culturally, the oriental plane has been an important component of Persian gardens, cultivated for shade and longevity, and also been planted in Hindu holy places.

    Its wood has been used commercially for furniture (oriental plane veneer is sold as ‘lacewood’), barrels and crates. Native Americans have been said to have used infusions prepared from oriental plane (cultivated as an ornamental in North America) as a general remedy for all illnesses.

    Kew's oriental plane

    The oriental plane located next to the Orangery, in front of Kew Palace, is thought to have come from the Duke of Argyll’s neighbouring Whitton estate following his death in1762. It is believed that several trees were brought from the Argyll estate at Whitton to supplement the new arboretum being laid out at Kew. Argyll certainly had oriental planes, and the Kew plane is widely believed to have arrived in 1762 with the other Argyll trees.

    This tree sits next to the place where the east wall of the White House (a mansion inhabited by Princess Augusta) once stood on the lawn in front of Kew Palace. This placement suggests that they thought the tree not fully hardy and in need of protection by the wall of the main house. There is a hint from previous research that this tree was planted by the previous owners of Kew (the Capell and Molyneux families), but without tree-dating or contemporary evidence it seems more plausible that the plant came from Whitton and was planted by the White House in 1762 as a young tree. Evidence from contemporary maps suggests this was one of three trees planted in a row.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Saving seeds

    The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    There are four collections of oriental plane seeds stored in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

    See Kew’s Seed Information Database for further information on Platanus orientalis seeds

    Kew's 'Old Lions'

    Kew’s ‘Old Lions’ are some of the few remaining trees with the oldest actual known planting date of 1762. They comprise: Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree), Styphnolobium japonicum (pagoda tree) and Platanus orientalis (oriental plane) to the west of the Princess of Wales Conservatory; Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) on the lawn to the front of the Orangery; and Zelkova carpinifolia (Caucasian elm) situated in the Herbarium paddock.

    Some of these trees were brought from a neighbouring estate at Whitton which belonged to the Duke of Argyll (the uncle of Lord Bute, the botanical advisor to Princess Augusta). They became part of a new five acre arboretum, laid out by William Aiton, which sat next to the Orangery.

    Now, 250 years after these trees were planted, Kew is celebrating the ‘Old Lions’, which can be seen in all their splendour, still growing in the Gardens.

    This species at Kew

    Oriental plane can be seen growing next to the Orangery, in front of Kew Palace.

    Pressed and dried specimens of Platanus orientalis are held in Kew’s Herbarium where they are available to researchers by appointment.

    Specimens of the wood, bark, seeds and fruits of oriental plane, as well as a wooden dish made from it, are held in Kew’s Economic Botany Collections in the Sir Joseph Banks Building, where they are available to researchers by appointment.

    Distribution
    Bulgaria, Greece, Italy
    Ecology
    Temporary, moist, stone or gravel ravines.
    Conservation
    Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria considered to be endangered in parts of its range.
    Hazards

    Hairs from the leaves and fruits of Platanus × hispanica can cause bronchial problems.

    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental, timber, medicine.

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    Albania, Bulgaria, East Aegean Is., East Aegean Is., Greece, Italy, Kriti, Kriti, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia

    Introduced Into:

    Morocco

    Common Names

    English
    Oriental plane

    Platanus orientalis L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 1, 1981 Lindberg, H. [154], Cyprus K000634767
    Jan 1, 1981 Syngrassides, A. [1145], Cyprus K000634768
    s.coll. [s.n.] K000975599
    s.coll. [s.n.] K000975600

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 999 (1753)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] (2013) Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • [3] (2010) Taxon 59: 134-147

    Literature

    • [2] (2013) Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • [4] Chilton, L. (2010) Plant list for Lesvos , slightly revised 1998-2009: 1-36. Marengo, Hunstanton, England.
    • [5] The Plant List (2010). Platanus orientalis.
    • [6] (2009) Journal of Tropical and Subtropical Botany 17: 295-297
    • [7] Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. Third edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • [8] Flora of China (2008). Platanus orientalis.
    • [9] Vigouroux, A. (2007). Le Platane: Portrait, Botanique, Maladies. Edisud, Aix-en-Provence.
    • [10] (1999) Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe 12: 1-250
    • [11] World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1998). Platanus orientalis. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2.
    • [12] Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1997). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. Volume 3 (L to Q). Macmillan Reference, London.
    • [13] Flora of North America Editorial Committee (1993). Platanus racemosa.
    • [14] (1985) Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 42: 261-314

    Sources

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [B] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [D] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [E] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
    [F] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0