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May - Black Poplar (Populus nigra)


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A confusing group of trees distinguished by their dark furrowed bark. True European black poplar has bosses on the trunk unlike Italian black poplar and other species. This tree has bosses. It also has black poplar type leaves. However the female catkins are not as spaced out as normal on black poplar so it may be well be a hybrid. The slow growing nature of the tree meant that around 200 years ago, black poplars started to be replaced by faster growing non native poplars. Very few trees have been planted since the mid 19th century. Very few trees germinate naturally either, because a male and a female tree need to be close together, and in perfect natural conditions in order for the seeds to germinate. The seedlings that do grow easily hybridise with non-native poplars so they are no longer pure Black Poplars. Picture taken near Odell, Bedfordshire 14th May 2006.

2nd Jun 2006 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

plant tree wildlife

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