Platanaceae: large deciduous tree to 44m. The London Plane is the result from a cross between the American and Oriental Planes and has been known in cultivation since the 17th century. The main trunk is usually very tall and the crown of old trees is often spreading. The bark is greyish-brown and thin flaking patches leave paler, yellowish areas beneath. Leaves are mostly 5-lobed, palmate and up to 24cm long. The flowers resemble those of the Oriental Plane. Widely planted street tree, very much a feature of London streets and squares – hence its common name, but also a popular tree in many other cities across Britain.
The sweet sap can be tapped in the spring and used in the preparation of syrup and sugar.
The inner bark is astringent, diuretic, emetic and laxative, it has been used as a tea in the treatment of dysentery, coughs, colds, lung ailments, haemorrhages, measles, milky and difficult urination, and also as a blood tonic. Externally, it has been used as a wash on wounds. An infusion of the bark and roots has been used as a foot soak for treating rheumatism, also the bark ooze has been used as a wash on infected sores and an infusion has been given in the treatment of infant rash.
Although London Plane seeds have no real dormancy they do have special requirements for germination, under the correct conditions very good results can be rapidly achieved.
First soak the seeds in water for 24 hours, drain them and mix with a little dry sand to separate them from each other to make sowing them a little easier. Prepare a seed tray ¾ filled with a good quality compost and firm if well with a short piece of wood to achieve a good even surface. These seeds must have light to enable successful germination to occur so they need to be sown on the compost surface, gently firmed, generously watered and left uncovered.
The seed tray then needs to be covered to retain enough humidity for the seeds to be able to germinate, this can be achieved simply by placing a sheet of glass over the tray, there should be a gap of at least 1 cm between the compost surface and the glass cover. Alternatively, I made 5 short metal hoops to support transparent pallet wrapping film although a clear plastic bag would work equally well. This forms a tunnel over the seeds to retain the humidity. After a day or so at room temperature the water vapour begins to condense on the inside if the film/glass indicating 100% humidity inside and the correct conditions for the surface sown seed to germinate. Keep the sown seeds out of direct sunlight.
After approximately a week kept at room temperature signs of germination were evident. After another week or so covered by the film/glass sheet, the edges need to be lifted slightly to increase air circulation and start to prepare the seedlings for life under more normal conditions.
With good compost seedling development is quite rapid and developing seedlings can soon be re-potted individually remembering to keep them cool and moist and out of direct sunlight until they have become established. Growth of between 8 - 30cm or more is easily possible in the first growing season and after perhaps 2 - 3 years they are ready to be planted in their permanent position.
APPROX. 100 SEEDS
Every order will receive a free packet of seeds as a thank you!
I have had to remove all listings of poisonous plants, which include the nightshade family, and monkshoods. All these plants and more are still available from my store:
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