Populus alba

13 Jul

Populus alba (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

Populus alba (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Moist well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 25m

Eventual Spread: 16m

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Salicaceae

Populus alba is a fast growing deciduous tree with a rounded habit. Its dark green glossy leaves are five lobed with sinuate margins, up to 15cm long, 10cm broad and with a downy white covering on the underside. Its leaves turn yellow in autumn before they fall. Its white to grey white bark is smooth with diamond shaped marks when young becoming more fissured with age. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 2m. Its flowers are dioecious wind pollinated and appear before its leaves.  Its male catkins are up to 8cm long and the female are up to 10cm long. Its fruit are green capsules which contain small seeds that have fine hairs which aids their wind dispersal. Its roots may sucker, particularly if damaged.

Populus alba Leaf (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

Populus alba Leaf (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

Populus alba, commonly known Silver Poplar, White Poplar or Abele, is native to south Europe, central Europe and central Asia. In its native habitat it grows on wet sites, often close to water courses. Due to its suckering roots, this tree may spread given the right conditions and may be invasive. It is considered invasive in many parts of Australia and South Africa.

The etymological root of the binomial name Populus is derived from its ancient Latin name, arbor-populi meaning ‘tree of the people’. Alba is from the Latin meaning ‘white’.

Populus alba Bark (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

Populus alba Bark (03/07/2013, Walworth, London)

The landscape architect may find Populus alba useful as a fast growing tree with attractive leaves suitable for planting in wet locations. Care should  taken when locating this tree as its root may damage drainage systems and foundations. Planting in grass may cause this tree to sucker by damaging shallow roots when mowing.  This tree is tolerant of maritime conditions.

Ecologically, Populus alba leaves are attractive to many insects.

Populus alba prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate wet soils.

Populus alba requires little maintenance. Suckers of suckering trees may need to be removed annually.

DAVIS Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture


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