PLANE TREE (Heb. עַרְמוֹן; armon). The Oriental plane, Platanus orientalis, is indigenous to Israel and grows on the banks of rivers, especially in the north. It is one of the most beautiful of Israel's trees and is recognizable by its lofty trunk, spreading crest, and large leaves. Its Hebrew name is connected with the fact that its bark peels so that the trunk is left bare (arom). It grows also in Syria and Babylon; while sojourning with Laban in Mesopotamia, Jacob peeled "white streaks" off rods from the tree (Gen. 30:37). Ezekiel, who prophesied in Babylon, mentions it among the beautiful trees in "the garden of God" (Ezek. 31:8). The Targum (Gen. 31:37) rightly renders the word doleva ("the plane") and the Septuagint similarly has platanos. Rashi, however, identifies the armon with the chestnut, an identification which was accepted by European rabbis and by the biblical commentators, and it has been adopted in modern Hebrew. However, this identification is erroneous since the chestnut does not grow in Israel or in Mesopotamia. Beautiful plane trees are found especially on the banks of the River Dan and the River Senir, the sources of the Jordan. Particularly well known is the great plane tree at the Banias Falls which divides the falls in two.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 65–67; B. Cizik, Oẓar ha-Ẓemaḥim (1943), 224ff.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 120–1; H.N. and A.L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible (1952), 391 (index), s.v.