British Wildlife Wiki

Platanus orientalis, translated into English as the Oriental Plane, is a large, deciduous tree of the Platanaceae family, known for its longevity and spreading crown. The species name derives from its historical distribution eastward from the Balkans, where it was recognized in ancient Greek history and literature. Following Greek usage it is called Platane or related names in Europe. It was equally as famous to the Iranian-speaking world and from Turkey to India is called Chenar or related names, following the Iranian. The native range of the Oriental plane is Eurasia from the Balkans to as far east as at least Iran. Some accounts extend its native range to Iberia in the west, and to the Himalayas in the east. As it has been known in cultivation from early times in much of this region, it can be difficult to determine if it is truly indigenous in peripheral areas.


The oriental plane is found naturally in riverine settings, together with such trees as alder, willow and poplar. However, it is quite capable of survival and success in dry soils once it is established.

Like other plane trees, its leaves are borne alternately on the stem, deeply lobed, and palmate or maple-like. It usually has flaking bark, occasionally not flaking and becoming thick and rugged. Flowers and fruit are round and burr-like, borne in clusters of between 2 and 6 on a stem. Considerable variation exists among trees in the wild, and this may be complicated by crossbreeding with planted London planes (Platanus x hispanica), the hybrid of P. orientalis with the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).

The tree is capable of being grown in most temperate latitudes, though it benefits greatly from warm summers. As a very large and wide tree with broad, thick leaves that tend to orient horizontally, it is especially prized for the shade and coolness it provides during the hot season.

The leaves and bark have been used medicinally. A fabric dye has been made from the twigs and roots. The timber, often called lacewood, is figured and valuable for indoor furniture.