Small tree or large shrub. 'Vanessa' is distinct thanks to its straight trunk and oval crown, making it more suited as a street tree. Wide spreading habit. Bark of the older trees flakes delightfully much like that of the London Plane. Leaves turn crimson and gold in the early autumn. Flowers consist of clusters of crimson stamens like tiny paint brushes and appear in winter and early spring. One of the finest trees for autumn colour. Good on chalk.