Oriental Plane tree identification

The Oriental Plane Platanus orientalis, native to Turkey, South East Europe and India, was introduced to Britain in 1550. It was common in Persian Gardens where it was known as the Chenar. It is not common in Britain but can be found in parks and gardens in Southern England. It can be confused with the London Plane but the 5-lobed leaves are cut much deeper and the spherical fruits are smaller. Oriental Plane tree identification – deeply cut 5-lobed leaves, small male and female flowers and fruiting spheres on hanging strings.

Oriental Plane tree

Large Oriental Plane with branches reaching to the ground.

Oriental Plane leaf

The leaf has 5 main lobes which are deeply cut

Oriental Plane bark

The bark of a young tree

Oriental Plane buds

The red buds are twisted at the end

Oriental Plane female flowers

Female flowers with red stigmas are ready to receive pollen in May. The flowers are clustered into spheres. Each female flower has 6 to 9 crimson stigmas. The tree is monoecious with separate spherical clusters of male and female flowers on the same tree.

Oriental Plane fruiting spheres

When pollinated each flower develops into a fruit called an achene.The fruiting spheres are smaller than those of the London Plane. Photo taken in December.

Oriental Plane seed ball

The seeds are packed round the outside of the sphere and are ready to be dispersed in spring. Photo taken in April. The fruit of the Oriental Plane is a dense ball of individual fruits called achenes. Each achene consists of one seed with a style and hair attached. The styles stick out in this close-up photo. The hairs, which aid wind dispersal, are inside the ball. 

Oriental Plane fruiting ball shedding seeds

Old fruit still on the tree in August, just breaking up and dispersing seeds