Both plane tree (Platanus) & oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis) are widely cultivated as street trees in cities like Sydney. They have thick and wide foliage giving good shades. The branches do not fall off easily and are safe to the road users. Both trees flower in late spring.
The two trees are not related (they belong to different Genus, Family and Order) but both produce flower heads. Both of them are deciduous. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow and orange red. They shed their leaves.
Plane trees (Platanus)
Plane trees (Platanus) are native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are tall, reaching 30–50 m in height. The hybrid London Plane (a hybrid between oriental plane and American sycamore) has proved particularly tolerant of urban conditions.
The mature bark peels off or exfoliates easily in irregularly shaped patches, producing a mottled, scaly appearance.
The flowers are reduced and are borne in balls (globose heads); 3–7 hairy sepals may be fused at the base, and the petals are 3–7 and are spatulates (spoon-shaped). Male and female flowers are separate, but borne on the same plant. The male flower has 3–8 stamens, the female has a superior ovary with 3–7 carpels. Plane trees are wind-pollinated. Male flower-heads fall off after shedding their pollen.
After being pollinated, the female flowers become achenes (small, one-seeded dry fruit) that form an aggregate ball.
There is a tuft of many thin stiff yellow bristle fibres attached to the base of each achene.
Oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis)
Oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis), commonly known as Turkish sweetgum is native to the eastern Mediterranean region in the flood plains of southwestern Turkey and on the Greek island of Rhodes.
Comparisons between Platanus & Liquidambar