tree of the genus Populus, of the family Salicaceae (Poplar, Willow)

Etymology: from Latin "Populus", which also means the "people".

Species and Origins:
- the Lombardy Black Poplar is a tree native to Iran. It was introduced into Italy then in France (on the margins of the channel of Briare) in 1749. The general Bonaparte (yet Napoleon) appreciated this tree, during his campaigns in Italy, and made it plant in the east of France.
- the common Black poplar is native to Europe.
- the grisard Poplar is a hybrid of Tremble x White Poplar.
- the white poplar (Populus alba) is a Western tree native to Europe. (alba). Its leaves turn to yellow in Europe, to red in America.
- the Poplar of Canada is a spontaneous hybrid in France appeared in 1750.
- the Trembling Aspen, Populus tremula is native to Europe, from Asia and from North Africa. Its name comes from the fact that its leaves "tremble" and shakes at the slightest gust of wind, as it seems it, people do! Indeed, it is supported by a long flattened petiole that allows them to oscillate at the slightest breeze.
In America: Balsam Poplar.
In China : Poplar lasiocarpa.

Black poplar:

Habitat: poplars appreciate the humid soils. The white poplar prefers the rich, calcareous soils. The poplar of Italy is more sensitive to frost and to drought than black poplar.
They all have a deciduous foliage. Leaves are entire, arranged in spirals on branches (alternate). Their autumn colours are bright (yellow in Europe, red in the United States). The white poplar has top and bottom of leaves covered with hair at the beginning of the foliation. These hairs trap dust. Then the upper side and loses his hair becomes shiny green.
Dioecious species (male # female foot foot). The male flowers are catkins dangling purple anthers, appearing before the leaves in late winter. The female flowers are usually smaller (longer in the Aspen), in pink or red stigmas. They are fertile from March to May depending on the species.
Risk of allergenic pollen : low.
Fruits are capsules in two carpels, which open at about June, to liberate seeds endowed with hair abundant, like cotton-wool, which takes the wind before depositing them in white carpets. It is transplanted by cutting, which takes root easily (as the Willow).

Difference Black poplar /
Lombardy Black Poplar
White Poplar Grisard poplar  
Trembling Aspen
Size 40 m / 30 m 35 m 30 m 30 m
Lifespan 400 year / 150 years (1) 300 years 100 years 300 years
Trunk straight first tortuous, then right   straight, upright and bare
Form large / fastigiate Male foot: of a pyramid and crown of an intense green.
Female foot: spread.
  irregular and picked up
Bark deeply cracked blackish grey, bumps and burls on the trunk smooth, white greenish, with a hole of small characteristic rhombs (2) when young, then harsh, cracked and blackish, especially at the base. silvery grey with small rhombs (2) smooth grey-green then chapped
Branches parallel low branches in the trunk white branches    
Leaves toothed margin
P. black: 9 cm, triangulars
P. from Italy: 8 cm, in rhomb,
P. from Canada: 10 cm, slightly heart-shaped base

- on the long and vigorous stems, with 5 deep lobes and pinked (12 cm),
- on the short stems, round, sinuous margin.
- downy lower face

triangulars, broad teeth 9 - 15 cm, almost round, ended in tip, crenellated or wavy margin.
Round base or barely cordate. Flattened petiole.
Petiole long flattened petiole   court dish (3)
Underside green, glabrous white, pubescent (4) grey, hirsute  

(1) many old poplars of Italy (notably those of the park of Sceaux) did not resist the violent storm of 12/26/1999. They had been planted in 1930s. To see pictures. One of the oldest poplars of France: liberty tree was planted in 1789 in Gourville in Charente.
(2) in the long, rhombs meet, and, on elderly plants, all bottom of the bark is deeply cracked with blackish deep, grey rhombs, which make think of writing characters of Assyrian.
(3) the flat petiole is perpendicular on the plan of the leaf and it writhes in the slightest gust: leaves fidget easily (they "tremble").
(4) The young leaves are downy on both faces, top becoming smooth and green in the grown-up state.
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, nymph Leuké, girl of the Ocean, was coveted by Hadès. She avoided him completely transformed into White Poplar, which was since then considered to be tree of resurrection. On the death of the nymph, Hadès planted white poplars in the kingdom, Champs-Élysées. Héliades, sours of Phaéton, was completely transformed, to mourn their brother thrown in Pô, in Black poplars: since then, the Black poplar is the tree of death (it replaces the yew tree). In the Roman mythology, Leuké is assimilated in Perséphone, which spends 3 months a year in Hell and 9 months on earth. This notion of death and resurrection are therefore found.
In Celtic astrology, the poplar demonstrates uncertainty.
It was a tradition to plant poplars, in the absence of cypress, in graveyards. The poplar was one of the trees (with the alder and the elm) that served for fabricating gallows. During the days of 1830 and 1848, in France, the Poplar was planted in large ceremonies, as "liberty tree". Its Latin name, populus, made the ambassador of the "people".
Uses: poplars grow fast, notably the white poplar (he quickly grows: 13 m in 20 years), making it a good value for the exploitation. Zones liable to flooding were exploited in poplars, which are cut between 30 and 50 years of age. This working is made to the detriment of the ecosystems of wetlands, which are among the richest and to the detriment of vegetations capable of surviving drought or alternated inundations. The poplar wood is clear, light, fibrous, easy to crack, and unsustainable. One by way of matches, and, by unwinding of the wood, of the plywood and of crates. The bark of the young stems contains an efficient substance to struggle against fever. In environmental development, the Poplar (as well the poplar of Italy in the form fastigiate that the black poplar in the spreading form) marks the alignment of roads, of channels or of watercourse. Considering the abundance of the silky seeds, we avoid planting female feet in city.
Reproduction: natural reproduction is made by the seed taken by the wind, but in exploitation, we use the cutting, which is cloning form, surer technology in term of resulted present, but impoverished in the long since it loses interbreeding. Trembling Aspen suckers a lot.


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