… Today is the second day of Christmas (Dec.26) on my part of the world, so I am wishing all of you: “Happy Boxing Day!”

We are not planning to go anywhere today, so I have time to post another blog.

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If you travel along Princess Highway from Melbourne CBD to Dandenong, you will notice many London Plane Trees (Platanus x hispanica) grow on the side of the road. Many are big and old.  The huge trunks branch out beautifully to provide much needed shade in summer time. Before you are approaching Chadstone Shopping Centre, near Bruce St, look out for one of these London plane trees with the most unusual shape. The big bulging trunk gives an impression that the tree is suffering from very aggressive tumour or a bad case of elephantiasis.

We passed the area two days ago and stopped to take some photos. The high level of rain water recently has made all trees grow so green. Luckily, the new shoots that are growing around the base of the swollen trunk have not fully covered its monstrous look.

What has happened to this particular tree? The rest of the trees around the area grow normally. The experts say that damage on tree trunks from abuse or disease can make them grow thicker. It is a natural respond of the tree to provide strong support.

This very odd looking London plane tree somehow proves how tough they are to have the ability to adapt harsh condition growing so close to paving area. Being grown so close to road surface, the trees are more exposed to abuse and mistreatment. They also survive dry hot summer with only minimal water to reach the ground. Although some parts of the canopy are drastically cut to make way for power lines, the remaining branches spread-out nicely and the abundance of the large foliage still provide excellent shade in the summer. Being deciduous, they let sunshine to penetrate the bare branches in winter time.

Although some people hate the mess that London plane trees can make in the autumn with a large amount of fallen leaves and spiky pods, while others blame the trees for causing allergic reaction (hay-fever), I still think that they are beautiful trees. I mostly love the rugged look of the peeling grey-green trunk and branches.