Platanus orientalis Oriental Plane
Other common names
Arabic: Dulb. Iranian: Chenar
Origin of the species name
Platanus is Greek for this species and refers to the broad or flat crown; orientalis is Latin for east and refers to it being from the east. It was the most eastward occurring species at the time of its description in 1753.
Trees of this species attain full height in about 50 years, and are long lived, getting broader as they age.
This is a large deciduous tree with a widespread crown and branches often drooping to ground level. It usually has flaking bark, leaving a dappled surface, occasionally becoming thick and rugged. Its leaves are deeply lobed, and maple-like. Male and female flowers are borne on separate spherical flower heads. The female flowers heads are larger and more showy, greenish or sometimes flushed with red. Male flower heads are pale yellow or yellowish-brown. The flowers and the fruit are held in clusters. The fruits is brown, round and burr-like. Height 20m Spread 15m.
Natural distribution and habitat
The species is native to a large region extending from the east Mediterranean, throughout the Middle East and to the south-east provinces of the Euro-Siberian region where it occurs in moist soils along rivers and temporary watercourses at the base of slopes.
It is not yet classified as a threatened species but is becoming rare in parts of its natural habitat due to the impact of agriculture and irrigation which have changed the flow regime of natural watercourses. Tree numbers have also been reduced by felling. As many trees have been felled in Kashmir, a ban has been enacted to curb cutting. Trees there are now required to be registered and are considered National Property of the State.
A regular square grid pattern.
It has been an important tree in Persian gardens, which are built around water and shade. The leaves and bark have been used medicinally. A fabric dye has been made from the twigs and roots. The timber, often called lacewood, is figured and valuable for indoor furniture. In horticulture it is particularly valued for its shade.