Plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia)

Red Square Map

These large deciduous trees have gray-green smooth and peeling bark and broad 5-10 inch wide maple-line leaves. They are widely distributed on campus, with two particularly fine examples growing in front of the Humanities Building near the Noguchi "Sky-viewing sculpture."

The Plane tree (often called the London plane tree) is a cross between the American sycamore and Platanus orientalis, the Asiatic plane tree, native to SE Europe and Asia Minor east to the Himalayas. Plane trees were known in England as early as the mid-1600s; examples growing now in Berkeley Square, London date from 1789. The plane tree was widely planted throughout England and industrial North America during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. Apparently it endures uncommonly well amidst smoke, soot and grime. As evidence, notice the apparently healthy tree rising from the enclosed courtyard of Miller Hall, proving that the species also can withstand gravel, concrete, coffee dregs, education lectures and (until recently) countless cigarette butts. (Woops! Only a few weeks after these words were written the gallant tree, having withstood everything environmental thrown at it, succumbed to a chain saw. Part of its trunk is destined to become something decorative, at Fairhaven College. Better than nothing, I guess).

Plane trees rim Red Square and smaller ones line the walkway west of Arntzen Hall.