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Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)

Distinguishing characters: Its *tall, slender, spire-like form* and

rigidly *erect branches*, which commence low on the trunk, make this

tree very distinct at all seasons of the year. See Fig. 39.

Leaf: Triangular in shape, similar to that of the Carolina poplar but

smaller, see Fig. 40.

Range: Asia, Europe, and North America.

Soil and location: The poplar is easily grown in poor soil, in any

location, and is very hardy.

Value for planting: The tree has a distinctive form which makes it

valuable for special landscape effects. It is also used for shelter

belts and screening. Like all poplars it is short lived and will

stand pruning well.

Commercial value: None.

Comparisons: The _Carolina poplar_, or Cottonwood (_Populus deltoides_)

can be told from the Lombardy poplar by its wider crown and its more

open branching, Fig. 41. It may be recognized by its big terminal

twigs, which are light yellow in color and coarser than those of the

Lombardy poplar, Fig. 42. Its bark is smooth, light and

yellowish-green in young trees, and dark gray and fissured in older

specimens. Its large, conical, glossy, chestnut-brown bud is also

characteristic, Fig. 42. Its flowers, in the form of large catkins,

a peculiarity of all poplars, appear in the early spring. The

Carolina poplar is commonly planted in cities because it grows

rapidly and is able to withstand the smoke and drouth conditions of

the city. Where other trees, however, can be substituted with

success, the poplar should be avoided. Its very fast growth is

really a point against the tree, because it grows so fast that it

becomes too tall for surrounding property, and its wood being

extremely soft and brittle, the tree frequently breaks in

windstorms. In many cases it is entirely uprooted, because it is not

a deep-rooted tree. Its larger roots, which spread near the

surface, upset the sidewalk or prevent the growth of other

vegetation on the lawn, while its finer rootlets, in their eager

search for moisture, penetrate and clog the joints of neighboring

water and sewer pipes. The tree is commonly attacked by the

_oyster-shell scale_, an insect which sucks the sap from its bark

and which readily spreads to other more valuable trees like the elm.

The female form of this tree is even more objectionable than the

male, because in the early spring the former produces an abundance

of cotton from its seeds which litters the ground and often makes

walking dangerous. The only justification for planting the Carolina

poplar is in places where the conditions for tree growth are so poor

that nothing else will grow, and in those cases the tree should be

cut back periodically in order to keep it from becoming too tall and

scraggly. It is also desirable for screening in factory districts

and similar situations.

The _silver_ or _white poplar_ (_Populus alba_) may be told from the

other poplars by its characteristic smooth, _whitish-green bark_,

often spotted with dark blotches, Fig. 43. The _leaves are

silvery-white_ and downy on the under side. The twigs are dark green

in color and densely covered with a white down. It grows to very

large size and forms an irregular, wide-spreading, broad head, which

is characteristically different from that of any of the other


The _quaking aspen_ (_Populus tremuloides_), the _large-toothed

aspen_ (_Populus grandidentata_) and the _balsam poplar_ or _balm of

Gilead_ (_Populus balsamifera_) are other common members of the

poplar group. The quaking aspen may be told by its reddish-brown

twigs, narrow sharp-pointed buds, and by its small finely toothed

leaves. The large-toothed aspen has thicker and rather downy buds

and broader and more widely toothed leaves. The balsam poplar has a

large bud thickly covered with a sticky, pungent, gelatinous


Tree Studies

How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The Horsechestnut
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)
The Magnolias