Black Poplar
(Populus nigra)
Flattened leaf stalk


winter twig
W inter twig



Lombardy Poplar
Lombardy Poplar

distribution map

The leaves are alternate, rounded, 5-10 cm long, and narrow abruptly into a short point. They are hairless, dark green above and paler below with blunt teeth along a clear margin. The 3-7 cm leaf-stalks are conspicuously flattened.

ID check

Black Poplar is a deciduous tree with a rounded outline up to 30 m tall with a strongly ridged bark broken up by large numbers of rough, swollen areas, 'bosses', which are absent in the similar Italian Poplar. It is a rare native tree of the flood plains of rivers and streams.

The lowest branches arch downwards but finally the tips point upwards. In the similar Italian Poplar all branches are spreading and in the Lombardy Poplar (which is a variety of black poplar) they are all upright (see illustration opposite).

Male and female catkins which are 3-7 cm long, appear on separate trees (dioecious) in March before the leaves. However, female trees are very rare.

The red male catkins soon fall whilst the greenish females develop into masses of white fluff at the end of June which scatter the seeds in the wind.


  • Poplar wood has an open texture easily impregnated with paraffin wax which makes it one of the most frequently used for match-making.

  • The wood is commonly used in Holland for making clogs.

  • Caterpillars of the Wood Leopard moth bore into the stems sometimes weakening them so much that they break

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