The London plane is a very common street tree in New York City. It is resistant to insects, disease and air pollution, making it well-suited to an urban environment.
The London plane tree is a hybrid of the American sycamore and the Oriental plane tree. London plane trees grow quickly, and their mottled look comes from the shedding of older bark, revealing newer, lighter bark underneath. One benefit of losing the outer bark is that it allows the tree to shed the pollutants that may have accumulated on the bark, which helps the tree avoid damage from pollution.