The London plane tree, Platanus xhispanica, is also known as a plane tree and is planted in cities worldwide because it is extremely tolerant of pollution, poor soils and is very hardy. It can be seen lining streets and growing in inner-city parks, where it brings welcome greenery in summer.
If hay fever sufferers breathe in pollen and hairs from the leaves and seeds of plane trees, it can result in physical and allergic reactions. These reactions range from migraines and changes in body temperature to symptoms similar to flu, such as a runny nose, streaming and itchy eyes, and sneezing.
When pollen is dispersed in spring, high levels can be measured in the atmosphere in cities where there is dense planting of the tree species. Some hay fever sufferers can also develop allergies to foods that have similar plant proteins, such as hazelnuts and celery.
Plane Tree Hairs
Hairs from seeds and leaves are also released in spring and can be a source of intense irritation. The seeds and hairs are dispersed into the air by wind or vectors, such as birds, butterflies and bees, or from people pruning branches and raking leaves.
When gardening and sweeping up leaves, cover up bare skin by wearing long-sleeves and use gloves and a dust mask. Afterward, shower and wash your clothes, because the hairs can attach themselves. Dry laundry indoors, because pollen, seeds and hairs might disperse on laundry hanging on a washing line.
Reaching 65 to114 feet high and 9 feet in circumference, the London plane is a deciduous tree with large-lobed leaves. The most distinguishing feature of the tree is the bark on older trees. The trunk sheds patches of bark to reveal younger bark that is chalky-white in colour, and this gives the trunk a mottled look. London plane trees are planted around the world in cities that have mild temperatures, including Chicago, New York, Melbourne, London and Paris.