Parks and gardens with plane tree collections
This section only includes a selection of sites in London, those
with trees of greater interest in size or age, or with variation in
variety and form. In most cases the variation is likely not to be
deliberate, and to reflect what varieties were available at the
time. The list includes some gardens that are normally only open
at a charge.
- Central London Royal Parks, that is St. James's Park,
Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. They contain
different forms in variety, of mixed ages, particularly in Hyde
- Central London squares. The majority of these private communal garders
date from the 19th century or earlier. They may have huge trees, and
sometimes interesting ones. Public squares worth visiting for the
variety of trees are many, and include Brunswick Square and Russell
Square Gardens. Access to private squares needs to be negotiated,
or obtained on any open days they may hold. For some of these, the trees
can be seen from public roads.
- Battersea Park. Has many mature plane trees. It includes
good scenic avenues of planes, these include the one on the central
east west axis, and the avenue on the north carriage road, beside
the river. There are some forms of the oriental plane, and many
excellent specimens of the common old forms.
- Beddington Park, though not necessarily with a large
range of forms, there are some very large trees.
- Clapham Common The planting includes a number of planes,
the range of varieties being typical of a later 19th century park.
- Highbury Fields. Contains some distinctive hybrid trees.
Includes especially a clone with a fine shaped crown, undulating
branches, and deeply lobed leaves. Specimens on the east side
opposite Ronalds Road, and on the west side by Baalbeck Road.
- Green Park and St. James's Park have a good range of
old and large trees. Also worth looking at the trees alongside The
Mall, which may be mixed forms.
- Hyde Park probably has the greatest range of types in
the capital. It includes most of the common forms planted early on,
many as very large specimens, as well as a few less common, rarely seen
or unknown forms.
- Kelsey Park in Beckenham, a historic park that has some
very large trees by the lakes, and some other old variants. The
larger forms may well date from from the early 19th century Repton
landscaping, or even before that.
- Kennington Park, Lambeth. Has many fine specimen planes,
probably dating from its early years in the second half of the 19th to
the first half of the 20th century.
- Kensington Gardens has some less common forms, and is also
useful for seeing difference between the older clones when planted in
mixed avenues; for instance alongside the lawns on either side of the
- Kew Gardens is notable for some of the oldest trees,
including some interesting varieties that may not exist outside the
gardens. There are also some younger trees of botanic interest, especially
as more recent plantings are mainly those of botanic interest rather than
cultivated forms. Payment needed for entry.
- London Fields in Hackney is parkland dating from the
19th century. The main interest is in some large planes, but there is
also interesting variation in a few. Neighbouring roads contain
some variable younger specimens.
- Morden Hall Park has some sizable Oriental planes by the
river, and other interesting forms, including by the tram
- Osterley Park, a historic garden with a historic
Oriental plane, and several other types scattered round the
land. National Trust restrictions apply for part of the parkland.
- Regent's Park, like the other royal parks has a lot of
mature planes. However the range of forms is perhaps not as wide as
the central royal parks.
- Russell Square Gardens contains a good range of sizable
specimens of different types.
- Southwark Park. A typical range of trees for one of the 19th century parks. There are some
avenues and lines where contrasts in form, growth habit, foliage colours, and
other aspects stand out clearly, often at a distance. They include
many of the older forms common in Inner London.
- Syon Park, Brentford. Historic park, has some
interesting specimen planes, including some relatively young
ones. Payment needed for entry.
- Victoria Embankment Gardens and Whitehall Gardens. These
two spaces alongside Embankment lie on opposite sides of the Hungerford
bridge on the north side of the Thames. They contain a variety of differing forms.
- Victoria Park in Bethnal Green has many interesting and
sizable trees of the common forms in inner London.
As with Southwark Park,
differences can be especially noticeable with variation in types of
tree in avenues and lines of trees.
- Wandle Park, Colliers Wood, with some big trees and some
The principal collections include the following.
- Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire which has the most significant collection,
forming the only National Plant Collection
for planes. It is also notable for the 'Mottisfont Plane',
with a very large trunk, now believed to be caused by the fusion of at least two trees.
- Cambridge Botanic Garden is primarily for botanically interesting specimens, so it has
few London planes. There are several Oriental planes, of different forms. Also present here
is a tree labelled Platanus orientalis f. Digitata, though quite unlike
the more common modern cultivar.
- Jermyn's Arboretum, Hampshire has a limited range of plane trees, which used some years ago to contain
the only specimens known to me of the variety 'Bloodgood'.
- Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire has a number of odd forms, as well as some small
to medium sized Occidental planes.
Other sites that have a range include the grounds of some older universities and colleges,
notably both at Oxford and Cambridge. Many historic gardens also have some uncommon trees.
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