Populus nigra
Common name: 
Black Poplar
pop-U-lus NI-gra
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous tree, to 100 ft (30 m) tall, having a broad crown.  Bark often thickly knotted (large burrs) and becomes deeply fissured with age.  Leaves alternate, simple, variable, broadly diamond shaped, triangular or ovate, 5-11 cm long, sometimes wider than long, the apex is broadly to slenderly tapered, the base truncate to cuneate (wedge-shaped), margins are translucent with shallow, rounded teeth, the upper surface is mid-green and lighter below; the petiole 3-7 cm long, slender, flattened.  Dioecious - male and female plants.  Male catkins are 3-5 cm long, anthers deep red.  Female catkins 10-15 cm long, 2 green stigmas per flower.
  • Sun.  
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3     Black poplar is native to western Europe, north Africa and Siberia.  There are three, or some say four, subspecies of Populus nigra:
    • subsp. nigra: Eastern and Central Europe - leaves and shoots glabrous (hairless)
    • subsp. betulifolia: northwestern Europe - leaf veins and shoots finely downy, heavy burrs on trunk
    • subsp. caudina: Mediterranean region, also southwest Asia - shoots and flower clusters densely downy
  • "Black poplar" is found all over Europe but yet the true black poplar is one of the rarest and most endangered trees.  There are several reasons for this, one is the loss of its natural habitat, alluvial areas, the ease with which it hybridizes with other poplar species, and the cultivation of hybrid poplars to the detriment of the species.
  • By far the the most common form of the species seen in the U.S. is the cultivar 'Italica', more commonly known as the Lombardy Poplar.
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