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Populus nigra

Common Name(s):
Black poplar, Lombardy poplar

Has many landscape problems; short-lived best planted as a windbreak away from most landscapes.  Native to Europe, northwestern Africa and western Asia.  Dark gray bark on mature trees is deeply furrowed and provides winter interest.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage: Fall, yellow Bloom: Spring, March-April ; Bark: Winter

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Populars are not good landscape trees because they are suseptible to a number of pests and diseases as well as other cultural problems.  Insect problems include aphids, borers, caterpillars and scale.  Cankers are problematic especially in hot and humid climates. Cytospora canker attacks the upper branches of the tree and trunk and is often fatal. Dieback, leaf spots, rusts, and powdery mildew are other diseases problems. Weak wood is easily damaged by wind and shallow roots can lift sidewalks, make lawn mowing difficult, and damage drainage systems. Frequent clean up is required from the endless amount of falling leaves and twigs. To quote Michael Dirr from his popular book Manual of Woody Landscape Plants,"if anyone plants poplars they deserve the disasters which automatically ensue."

40-70 ft.
Dioecious (male and female flowers on separate trees). Catkins appear March-April before the leaves. Male catkins (1-2” long and drooping) feature apetalous flowers with deep red anthers. Upright female catkins (4-5” long) have apetalous flowers with two green stigmas. Pollinated female flowers produce masses of seeds encased in flurry white cottony hairs that are distributed by the wind in the late summer.
Upright; narrow
10-12 ft.
Growth Rate:
Triangular, simple, shiny green
winter interest, deciduous, windbreak, fall color, high maintenance

NCCES plant id: 2125

Populus nigra Form
Karl Ludwig Poggemann, CC BY - 2.0
Populus nigra 'Italica' Populus nigra 'Italica'
Lenora Enking, CC BY-NC-SA - 4.0
Populus nigra Fall color
Jordi Roy Gabarra, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra 'Italica' Populus nigra 'Italica' winter
Lenora Enking, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Populus nigra Leaves
Hermann Falkner Sokol, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra 'Italica' Populus nigra'Italica' leaves
Josh S. Jacks, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra Female catkin, 4-5” long
Hermann Falkner Sokol, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra Female catkin, 4-5” long
Hermann Falkner Sokol, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra Leaf buds
Hermann Falkner Sokol, CC BY-NC-2.0
Populus nigra Male catkin, drooping 1-2" long apetalous flowers with deep red anthers
Dean Morley, CC BY-ND-2.0