Populus alba (White Poplar) is a species of poplar, most closely related to the aspens (Populus sect. Populus). It grows in moist sites, often by watersides, in regions with hot summers and cold to mild winters.Other names for the tree are Silver Poplar, Silver-leaf Poplar and Abele.

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, growing to heights of up to 50-60ft (rarely more), with a trunk up to 3ft in diameter and a broad rounded crown. The bark is smooth and greenish-white to greyish-white with characteristic diamond-shaped dark marks on young trees, becoming blackish and fissured at the base of old trees. The young shoots are covered with whitish-grey down, including the small buds. The dark green leaves are 4-15 cm long, five-lobed with an oak like appearance, the underneath stays white until autumn leaf fall. Larger, deeply lobed leaves are produced on fast-growing young trees, and smaller, less deeply lobed leaves on older, slow-growing trees. The flowers are catkins up to 8 cm long, produced in early spring.

Distinguishing features of the White Poplar






 Cultivation and uses
It requires abundant light and ample moisture, and stands up well to flood water and slightly acidic soils. Its green-and-white leaves makes it an effective ornamental tree. It is very attractive as an open-grown tree in water meadows.

According to ancient mythology the White Poplar was consecrated to Hercules because he destroyed Cacus in a cavern adjoining the Aventine Hill, which was covered with these trees; and in the moment of his triumph he bound his brows with a branch of White Poplar as a token of his victory. Persons offering sacrifices to Hercules were always crowned with branches of this tree; and all who had gloriously conquered their enemies in battle wore garlands of it, in imitation of Hercules. Homer in the "Iliad" compares the fall of Simoisius when killed by Ajax to that of a poplar.

So falls a poplar that on watery ground

Raised high its head with stately branches crowned.



Foliage of the White Poplar
White Poplar leaves; underside left, upper side right
Trunk, showing the characteristic diamond-shaped marks


Bolleana Poplar Populus Alba