The Hippocratic Plane Tree

Just behind the research and learning building on the campus of the hospital in Exeter, stands one of the area’s most important trees. Medics there made sure it was protected when the building went up, because it is a Hippocratic Plane tree. If you’ve ever been to Kos, you may have seen a five hundred year old descendant of the original Plane, that stood some 2400 years ago. It was beneath that legendary tree that Hippocrates lectured his students on the art and ethics of medicine.


There are Hippocratic Planes all around the world, in the grounds of libraries, colleges and medical schools. Trees, including this one, have been propagated by seed and cutting from the one in Kos. How fitting and wonderful, that students here can also sit in the shade of this beautiful tree.

There is another element to share, because the hospital’s estates team cut limbs from the tree, they were seasoned and used to create this cross that hangs in the chapel.


This definitely one of England’s sacred trees.


6 thoughts on “The Hippocratic Plane Tree

  1. What a gorgeous tree Gilly and I am glad they saved it. If that tree could talk, I am sure it would have lots of secrets to tell. 😀

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