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PLANE, EUROPEAN

Platanus acerifolia

Platanus acerifolia of the family Platanaceae

The botanical name of this species is a bit complicated. It is generally presented in the USA as Platanus acerifolia with the synonym Platanus hybrida but to be technically correct it really should be Platanus x acerifolia because it is believed to be a hybrid of Platanus orientalis (oriental planetree) and Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), with the name Platanus hybrida just being an indication that it is a hybrid. Apparently some authorities believe it is just a cultivar of Platanus occidentalis rather than a hybrid.

This wood, which is native to the UK and parts of Europe, also has the common name "European lacewood" but it doesn't look like lacewood, it looks like sycamore (hey ... it is after all not just in the same family as sycamore, it's in the same genus). Also called English plane and in the UK and Europe and lacewood in the UK and London plane in everywhere (possibly, it's called London plane more than European plane, but I started it out as European plane and see no reason to change since it's pretty much called either one). For more information about this wood being confused with others, see the link directly below:

An illustrated discussion on the confusion among the names
lacewood, leopardwood, planetree, sycamore, silky oak and others


my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of London plane / Platanus hybrida --- HUGE enlargements are present. Platanus hybrida is a synonym of Platanus acerifolia


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of London planetree / Platanus acerifolia. This sample was provided by Joe Melton, whom I thank for this and numerous other contributions. The surface rays show up much better in the enlargements. The discoloration seems to be mostly white rot.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a burl sample plank of flat cut London plane / Platanus x acerifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a burl sample plank of quartersawn London plane / Platanus x acerifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a burl sample plank of London plane, / Platanus acerifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

web pics:


end grain listed as london plane


plank dry and wet, listed as london plane / Platanus hybrida (= Platanus acerifolia)


planks listed as English lacewood / Platanus hybrida (= Platanus acerifolia)


planks that were identified only by the botanical name Platanus hybrida (= Platanus acerifolia)


planks identified with various combinations of the names London plane / european plane / plantree / platane / lacewood / sycamore / Platanus hybrida / Platanus acerifolia


quartersawn bookmatched veneer identified as planetree / Platanus acerifolia


veneer listed variously as planetree or European plane


burl veneer listed as European plane / Platanus hybrida (= Platanus acerifolia), all from the same vendor


burl veneer just listed as European plane


14" platter by Steve Earis, who lists it as London plane. Thanks to Steve's excellent photography, very large enlargements are present.


bowl listed as spalted London plane


bowls listed as London plane. I find that second one to be a particularly attractive design and execution.


London plane bowl turned and photographed by Tom Pleatman, whom I thank for this pic and other contributions to the site. Big enlargements are present.