5. Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra Italica)

‘Italica’ is a large, vigorous, columnar deciduous tree to 30m tall. They only live an average of 15 years and can grow up to 1m a year. The wood is quite brittle and branches can be shed in rough weather, as we saw in the park in 2020

Populus have large, with male and female catkins on separate trees, opening before the leaves. Male catkins are the more ornamental, female ones produce copious cottony, wind-blown seeds. The bark is rough and deeply furrowed and unopened buds are sticky. Local flocks of starlings seem to like these trees as a regrouping place.

The Lombardy Poplar (Populus fastigiata) is no more a native of Italy than of England. Its home is in the Taurus and the Himalayas, whence it has spread into Persia. Since then it has become specially abundant along the rivers of Lombardy, and  was only introduced here in 1758.

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