The London Plane is a fertile hybrid of the Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) and the American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). The accidental cross resulted from the Oriental and American being planted close to one another. While this could have happened in Spain, the discovery is also often attributed to John Tradescant the Younger at Vauxhall Gardens in London. In any event, the first hybrid appeared in the 17th Century and was then widely planted in the 18th.
F&M’s tree is probably close to 150 years old as of 2020 (the age formula puts it near 200, no doubt an overestimate). Hopefully the Plane will survive the massive campus construction that has recently enveloped it.
The photos on this webpage do not do this beautiful tree justice.
This amazing species is one of the most efficient trees in removing small particulate pollutants in urban areas.