The Plane Trees of London

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

◄ Plane trees in Prince’s Gardens, London

Sitting in the outside dining area of Ognisko, a wonderful Polish restaurant on Exhibition Rd in London, just across from the Science Museum, we were admiring the 21 notable plane trees in Prince’s Garden, well 21 mature ones. There are lots of plane trees in London, many planted when their ability to thrive in London’s sooty, smoggy, unhealthy air – at the time – was much appreciated. Berkeley Square has the biggest number – or a big number at least, 30 or so, dating from 1789.

▲ The Brunswick Plane Tree

The best plane tree in London is said to be the Brunswick Plane Tree in Brunswick Square. It dates from 1796 making it possibly the second oldest plane tree in central London, after that earlier tree in Berkeley Square. It’s also one of the original ‘10 Great Trees of London,’ that list has subsequently been expanded to 61 notable trees. Nearby are two ‘baobab planes,’ a nickname because their bulbous trunks do indeed look rather like a baobab or boab tree of East Africa or Western Australia, although in fact this one might be the result of a virus infection.