Populus nigra Mica

lombardy poplar is a particularly distinctive tree typically found in waterside surroundings, and is of great value in landscape planting. Everyone knows its remarkable narrow shape, soaring like a slender plume straight up from a narrow base. Each individual twig follows the upward trend of the main trunk so there are no large branches and the tree never forms a true crown. This habit of growth is called 'fastigiate,' and it is found as an occasional freak in many sorts of tree, Fastigiate trees are usually hard to propagate, needing careful grafting, but Lombardy poplar can be increased easily by striking cuttings in the soil

This attractive poplar probably arose in northern Italy, and it draws its name from Lombardy, the great flat plain beside the River Po; it should not be confused with the Black Italian poplar described on page 54. Lombardy poplar was brought to Britain from Turin by Lord Rochford, in 1758, Because the numerous side shoots cause frequent knots and irregularities in the trunk, it has no value as timber and is grown only for ornament or as a shelter or screen tree, A female form 'Gigantea* with strong slighdy spreading branches is frequent Despite its slender form and appearance of great height, Lombardy poplar is not one of the tallest trees; the current record is 39m at Marble Hill Twickenham, Middlesex,

Lombardy poplar grows rapidly in youth and stands up well to all sorts of adverse conditions, such as town smoke, poor soil, and restricted root room. It is therefore often planted for making, rapidly, a narrow screen to check the wind or to shut out unwanted noise, dust or an unpleasing view. But it is not an ideal tree for such purposes, since it is not long lived, while the loss or breakage of a single tree seriously disrupts the pattern.

The botanical details of the Lombardy poplar resemble those of the common Black poplar. Strains differ a little in branching habit

Populus Nigra

FIGURE 5%

Leaves and shoot of Lombardy poplar (xj).

FIGURE 5%

Leaves and shoot of Lombardy poplar (xj).

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