Plane trees of London

Photographs of fossils

Index page

The genus Platanus is believed to be more than 100 million years old, and Platanaceae is one of the oldest known angiosperm families. Many fossilised specimens of plane leaves and fruit have been discovered in the northern hemisphere. These have been given a variety of specific names.

Fossil wood of plane trees have been discovered in places in Britain, so although the trees are 'exotics' now, it is because of their local extinction during previous ice ages. This article discusses plane fossils over 30 million years old found in various places in England. More recent fossils have been discovered in southern Europe.

The image below is of an unknown North American species.

Exhibit Museum of Natural History, Ann Arbor - IMG 9214

The following are photographs of fossil leaf and fruit specimens from North America, probably of the extinct species Platanus wyomingensis. The leaves are from the Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation, Bonanza, Uintah County, Utah. They are from Middle Eocene Epoch (Lower Uintan Stage), about 46 million years old.


Fossil leaf


Fossil leaf, probably of a plane species. Note also the poplar leaf to its right.

Fossil leaf

Plane and poplar leaf.

Fruit, possibly of a plane species, or of sweet gum, Liquidambar.

Fossil fruit

Fossil fruit.

Some of the pictures and information on this page are courtsey of Hanman's Fossils and Minerals.

Index page