Sycamore leaf

The origin of the plane tree

The plane tree that is currently widespread in our parks derives from two different species that have hybridized over time, namely Platanus Occidentalis, widespread mainly in North America, and Platanus Orientalis, originating instead of the Middle Asian areas. It belongs to the Platanaceae family, and the species that instead occurs spontaneously in Italy is specifically Platanus acerifolia. It is a tree that has a mainly ornamental purpose, although its wood is also highly appreciated in construction. It is said that in ancient Greece the philosophers particularly loved this tree, which was considered sacred to Jupiter, and its name comes from the Greek word platys, which means wide, flat. The reference is to the sycamore leaf, which is very wide, like the palm of a hand.

The characteristics of the plane tree

The sycamore tree is easily recognizable from the others due to the peculiar shape of its leaves, and above all for its majestic size. Generally, a plane tree can measure up to 30 meters in height. Its stem is straight and characterized by a very brittle brown bark. In fact, over time it tends to peel, leaving areas of yellowish or pale green color uncovered. The foliage tends to take on a rounded or pyramidal shape, and the leaves of plane treesthey are large, bright green in the upper part and lighter in the lower part. The inflorescences are produced from the month of May, and have a spherical shape. The plane tree is a very long-lived tree: if it is found in a suitable soil and is not attacked by too aggressive diseases, it can reach up to 250 years of age.

How to grow the plantain

As it is easy to guess, to think of planting a plane tree in the garden you must have a rather large space in which to place it, so that its foliage has all the ease to expand. The soil in which it must be planted must preferably be calcareous and clayey, and rich in organic substances, and very deep, to allow the roots to take root. The planting operation must be done in April, and can be carried out using the seeds, first placing them in a bowl and then transporting the seedling into the ground, or by cutting. The plane tree prefers a sunny and mild climate, but it is not a very demanding tree, as it tolerates temperature changes and even harsh winters well. It does not need special pruning, but even if subjected to drastic cuts it does not suffer.

The leaf of the plane tree becomes reddish in autumn, giving the entire crown of the tree an even more striking appearance. It can have three or five lobes, often jagged, and is the most delicate part of the tree, because it is the one that can be subject to the attack of many parasites. For example, bombyx, red spider, yellow spider and buffalo are dangerous for the plane tree. These little animals stick to the surface of the leaves, damaging them and leading to the death of the entire plant. Other diseases to which the plane tree is subject are the woodworm, which attacks the trunk, but above all the colored canker of the plane tree, a very dangerous fungus that bears the plane tree leafto dry up and progressively infect the whole plant, so much so that in the end all that remains is to cut it down. Wood in this case cannot be used.

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