- Black Poplar
name = Black Poplar
image_width = 240px
image_caption = Black poplars in Poland
genus = "Populus"
sectio = "Aegiros"
species = "P. nigra"
binomial = "Populus nigra"
binomial_authority = L.
Black poplar ("Populus nigra") is a
speciesof poplarin the cottonwood("Aegiros") section of the genus "Populus", native to Europe, southwest and central Asia, and northwest Africa.Flora Europaea: [http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/cgi-bin/nph-readbtree.pl/feout?FAMILY_XREF=&GENUS_XREF=Populus+&SPECIES_XREF=nigra&TAXON_NAME_XREF=&RANK= "Populus nigra"] ]
It is a medium-sized to large
deciduous tree, reaching 20-30 m (rarely 40 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter. The leaves are diamond-shaped to triangular, 5-8 cm long and 6-8 cm broad, green on both surfaces.Rushforth, K. (1999). "Trees of Britain and Europe". Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.] The species is dioecious (male and female flowers on different plants), with flowers in catkins and pollinationby wind.There are three subspecies, some botanists distinguishing a fourth:
*"Populus nigra" subsp. "nigra". Central and eastern Europe. Leaves and shoots glabrous (hairless); bark grey-brown, thick and furrowed.
*"Populus nigra" subsp. "betulifolia" (Pursh) W.Wettst. North-west Europe (
France, Great Britain, Ireland). Leaf veins and shoots finely downy; bark grey-brown, thick and furrowed, often with heavy burrs, trunk usually heavily leaning.
*"Populus nigra" subsp. "caudina" (Ten.) Bugała. Mediterranean region, also southwest Asia if var. "afghanica" not distinguished.
*"Populus nigra" var. "afghanica" Aitch. & Hemsl. (syn. "P. nigra" var. "thevestina" (Dode) Bean). Southwest Asia; treated as a
cultivarof "P. nigra" by many botanists,Germplasm Resources Information Network: [http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?29405 "Populus nigra" var. "thevestina"] ] and as a distinct species "P. afghanica" by others;Flora of Pakistan: [http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200005640 "Populus afghanica"] ] bark smooth, nearly white; leaves and shoots as subsp. "caudina" (see also cultivars, below).
The subspecies "betulifolia" is one of the rarest trees in
Great Britainand Ireland[Milne-Redhead, E. (1990). The B.S.B.I. Black Poplar survey, 1973-88. "Watsonia" 18: 1-5. Available [http://www.watsonia.org.uk/Wats18p1.pdf online] (pdf file).] [Arkive: [http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/plants_and_algae/Populus_nigra/ "Populus nigra"] ] , with only about 7,000 trees known, of which only about 600 have been confirmed as female [Cooper, Fiona (2006). "The Black Poplar: Ecology, History and Conservation". Windgather Press ISBN 1-905119-05-4] .
cultivars have also been selected, these being propagated readily by cuttings:
*'Italica'. The true Lombardy poplar, selected in
Lombardy, northern Italy, in the 17th century. The growth is fastigiate, with a very narrow crown. Coming from the Mediterraneanregion, it is adapted to hot, dry summers and grows poorly in humid conditions, being short-lived due to fungal diseases. It is a male clone.Bean, W. J. (1980). "Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles" Vol. 3. John Murray ISBN 0-7195-2427-X]
*"Plantierensis" group. A group of clones derived by crossing 'Italica' with "P. nigra" ssp "betulifolia" at the Plantières Nursery near
Metzin France in 1884; they are similar to 'Italica' (and often mistaken for it) but with a slightly broader crown, and better adapted to the cool, humid climate of northwest Europe, where the true Lombardy poplar does not grow well. Both male and female clones are grown. This is the tree most commonly grown in Great Britainand Irelandas "Lombardy poplar".
*'Manchester Poplar'. A cultivar of subsp. "betulifolia" widely planted in northwest England. It is a male clone, and currently seriously threatened by Poplar Scab disease. [Stace, C. A. (1971). The Manchester Poplar. "Watsonia" 8: 391-393.] [Arboricultural Information Exchange: [http://www.aie.org.uk/trunkline/aie_tr_popscab.html Manchester Poplar Disease] ]
*'Gigantea'. Another fastigiate clone, of unknown origin, with a rather broader, more vigorous crown than 'Italica'. It is a female clone.
*'Afghanica' (syn. 'Thevestina'). Most, if not all, specimens of the variety 'Afghanica' are of a single clone, and many botanists therefore treat it as a cultivar rather than a botanical variety. It is fastigiate, similar to 'Italica', but with a striking whitish bark; it also differs from 'Italica' in being a female clone. This is the common fastigiate poplar in southwest Asia and southeast Europe (the
Balkans), where it was introduced during the Ottoman Empireperiod.
author=A. Vanden Broeck
title=Black poplar (Populus nigra)
series=EUFORGEN Technical Guidelines for genetic conservation and use
publisher= EUFORGEN's Populus nigra Network and Bioversity International's Regional Office for Europe
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