This work describes three patients suffering from bronchial asthma after being naturally exposed to airborne plane-tree pollen. The three patients gave immediate response in skin tests and dual response in bronchial provocations using Platanus hybrida extract. There was specific seric IgE activity against this/these antigen(s) with the CAP system. The three patients also showed significant correlation (P < 0·001) between their rhinitis and asthma symptom-scores registered on their diary cards and plane-tree pollen counts, collected using the Burkard spore trap. Among 187 patients living in Madrid and who came to our centre with a history of rhinitis and/or seasonal asthma, we found a prevalence of positive skin-prick tests to Platanus of 56%, only surpassed by gramineous pollen (Dactylis glomerata and/or Trisetum paniceum) 92% and Olea europaea 63%. The aerobiological sampling of the pollen content of the air in Madrid, carried out between 1 January 1979 and 31 December 1993 revealed an airborne presence (per cent of total yearly pollen count, mean of 1979–1993) of 14·9% for the Platanus, 14·8% for grasses, 9·8% for Olea and 3·6% for Plantago. The Platanus is one of the most frequently found pollens in the atmosphere over Madrid. At present, in this geographical area, a high percentage of patients with pollinosis are sensitive to this pollen. At least in some of these patients Platanus pollen is capable of inducing rhinitis and bronchial asthma.