I have been wondering about this tree:

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enter image description here enter image description here

It's bark/leaves make me think it's a sycamore, but it seems too puny. I don't think they'd plant a sycamore there... What is it?

The tree is in a park/residential area in Orange County, Southern California.

Reasons I think it looks Sycamorish:

  • Alternate leaves

  • 3 lobes

  • Mottled/patchy/peely bark


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When dealing with species ID, Africans indicate the country and the continent, Americans indicate the county and an abbreviation to indicate a region within the state (now corrected) $\ddot \smile$ I personnaly did not know SoCal meant South California. +1 otherwise! $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Oct 8 '17 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ probably the london planetree. that is my best guess $\endgroup$
    – 4D Neuron
    Oct 8 '17 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ Adding photos of bark, and fruits/flowers if available might help. $\endgroup$
    – bli
    Oct 9 '17 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ "Mottled/patchy/peely bark" suggests me en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platanus $\endgroup$
    – bli
    Oct 9 '17 at 9:46

This is very likely a London planetree (Platanus × acerifolia), a hybrid species of Platanus often planted in cities.

London Planetree leaves

Source: Cuyamaca College

enter image description here

Source: Wikimedia

The tree is a hybrid between Platanus orientalis and Platanus occidentalis (the sycamore tree), and has characteristics intermediate between the two species.

  • Smaller (heights of only 20-30 m vs 30-40+ m for parent species).
  • More deeply lobed leaf than P. occidentalis but less so than P. orientalis
  • Seed balls typically two per stem (one in P. occidentalis, 3-6 in P. orientalis)
    • Note: seed "balls" = aggregate of many small seed-like fruits called achenes

    • Because it's very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and root compaction


  • Leaves: alternate, simple, 3-5 lobes, maple-shaped, 10–20 cm long, 12–25 cm wide
  • Bark: pale grey-green (or brown), smooth and peeling (sometimes not peeling)

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