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Plane Trees: Versatile Beauties with Surprising Uses and Benefits

by Donna
3 minutes read

Plane Trees: Versatile Beauties with Surprising Benefits


Plane trees are majestic trees that grace the streets of bustling cities around the world, including London and New York. These adaptable trees have evolved to thrive in urban environments, withstanding pollution, wind, and other challenges. But beyond their ornamental value, plane trees offer a surprising array of uses and benefits.

Wood Uses

While plane tree wood is not ideal for outdoor use due to its susceptibility to rot, it is highly prized for indoor furniture. Its attractive, lacy appearance makes it a popular choice for tables, chairs, and other decorative pieces. Historically, plane tree wood has also been used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Boxes
  • Utensils
  • Paneling
  • Flooring
  • Buckets
  • Butcher blocks
  • Carvings
  • Veneers
  • Barber poles

Wildlife Value

Plane trees, including sycamores, provide sustenance and shelter for a wide range of wildlife. Their leaves and seeds are a food source for:

  • Chickadees
  • Goldfinches
  • Purple finches
  • Juncos
  • Sapsuckers
  • Squirrels
  • Muskrats
  • Beavers

Hummingbirds feast on the dripping sap, while owls, wood ducks, chimney swifts, and other birds nest in the cavities of plane trees. Black bears have even been known to use hollow plane trees as dens.

Medicinal Uses

According to herbal medicine sources, plane trees possess various medicinal properties. Boiling the bark in vinegar is said to alleviate toothaches and diarrhea. Bruised leaves can be applied to the eyes to treat conjunctivitis and other inflammations. Other medicinal uses of plane trees include:

  • Treatment for coughs
  • Respiratory problems
  • Stomachaches

Caution: Always consult a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies.

Other Uses

In addition to their wood, wildlife, and medicinal value, plane trees offer other practical uses:

  • Dye: Colorful dyes can be extracted from plane tree stems and roots.
  • Syrup: The sugary sap of plane trees can be used to make syrup, although the process is labor-intensive.


Plane trees are not just beautiful additions to our urban landscapes. They are also versatile and useful trees that provide a range of benefits, from supporting wildlife to offering medicinal and practical applications. Whether you’re admiring their graceful presence in the city or exploring their hidden uses, plane trees are truly remarkable trees that deserve our appreciation.

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