Frome Road: London Plane Tree Avenue

The Frome Road avenue was planted in 1902 to commemorate Arbor Day and is one of the best known in Adelaide. It is a fine example of Plane trees being used for that purpose. The tall trees with their wide spreading canopies provide much appreciated coolness and shade during Adelaide’s hot summer months.

The dominant tree planted here is known as London Plane (Platanus X hybrida). The origin of this natural hybrid has been the subject of much discussion and research over the years. Many believe it was first noted in Spain in the seventeenth century. It is considered to be a hybrid between Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) which has a distribution from SE Europe to Asia and American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) which is native to the USA and Mexico.

The earliest known specimen in England is the one in the Oxford Botanic garden planted in 1663. A scion of this tree was planted at Magdalene College Oxford in 1801 and known as the Magdalene Plane. The hybrid tree has more vigour than its parents and was extensively planted in London because of its tolerance to the pollution being caused coal burning fires. Because of this use it became known as the London Plane. The Frome Road avenue is listed by the National Trust of South Australia as being of State significance.