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Hybrid Black Poplar

Populus x canadensis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Salicaceae (Willow)
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, waterside, woodland.

Red, no petals
Reddish, hanging catkins. Wind pollinated.
Woolly seeds.
Alternate, glossy, smooth, triangular leaves. Similar in appearance to Black Poplar (Populus nigra) but with rounder leaves which are darker above and paler below. The leaves turn yellow in autumn.
Other Names:
Canadian Poplar, Carolina Poplar.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Populus x canadensis is a hybrid species of poplar tree that is believed to be a cross between Populus alba (white poplar) and Populus nigra (black poplar). It is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 25 meters. The leaves are typically triangular in shape, with a glossy green upper surface and a pale, felted underside. The bark is smooth and gray-brown in color. The tree produces catkins that contain both male and female flowers, which appear before the leaves in early spring. It is often used as a ornamental tree in parks and gardens, for stabilizing riverbanks, for timber, and also for paper production. Due to its fast growth, it's also used in reforestation projects and for providing shade and windbreaks in certain areas.


Populus x canadensis, also known as Hybrid Black Poplar, is a fast-growing deciduous tree that is widely cultivated for its ornamental value and practical uses. It is a hybrid between the Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and the European Black Poplar (Populus nigra), and it is commonly found in urban landscapes, parks, and gardens.

Hybrid Black Poplar is a hardy tree that can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including drought, heat, and pollution. It is known for its rapid growth, which makes it a popular choice for windbreaks, shade, and erosion control. It can grow up to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide, with a straight trunk and a pyramidal crown.

One of the distinctive features of the Hybrid Black Poplar is its foliage. The leaves are triangular in shape, with serrated edges and a glossy green color. They are also larger than the leaves of the Eastern Cottonwood and have a more pronounced point at the tip. In the fall, the leaves turn a bright yellow color before falling to the ground.

The bark of the Hybrid Black Poplar is another unique feature of the tree. It is smooth and grayish-white when young but becomes rough and deeply furrowed as the tree ages. The bark is also rich in medicinal compounds, and it has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, inflammation, and pain.

Hybrid Black Poplar is a dioecious tree, which means that there are separate male and female trees. The male trees produce clusters of reddish-brown flowers in the spring, while the female trees produce inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers that later develop into cottony seed pods. The seeds are dispersed by wind and water and can travel long distances.

In addition to its ornamental value, Hybrid Black Poplar has a number of practical uses. The wood is light, strong, and durable, making it suitable for a variety of applications, including furniture, paper pulp, and veneer. The tree is also used in phytoremediation, a process in which plants are used to clean up contaminated soil and water. Hybrid Black Poplar has been found to be effective in removing pollutants such as heavy metals and organic chemicals from soil and groundwater.

Hybrid Black Poplar is a tree with a rich history and cultural significance. In ancient times, it was regarded as a sacred tree by the Celts and was believed to have healing powers. In the Middle Ages, it was associated with the Black Death, and it was planted in cemeteries as a symbol of hope and resurrection.

Today, Hybrid Black Poplar is still used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. The bark contains salicin, a compound that is similar to aspirin and has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps.

Another interesting fact about the Hybrid Black Poplar is its role in carbon sequestration. Trees are natural carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in their biomass. Hybrid Black Poplar is particularly effective at this, as it can grow up to 10 feet per year and can reach maturity in as little as 15 years. This makes it a valuable tool in combating climate change, as it can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming.

In addition to its environmental benefits, Hybrid Black Poplar has also been used in art and literature. The tree has been the subject of numerous paintings, poems, and songs, and it has been a source of inspiration for artists and writers throughout history. Its majestic stature, striking foliage, and rugged bark make it a symbol of strength, resilience, and endurance.

Hybrid Black Poplar has also been studied for its potential use in biofuel production. The wood and bark of the tree are rich in cellulose and lignin, two compounds that can be converted into ethanol and other biofuels through a process called bioconversion. This could provide a renewable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and help to reduce our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources.

Furthermore, Hybrid Black Poplar has been shown to have positive effects on soil health. The tree has a deep root system that can reach down into the subsoil, bringing up nutrients and water to the surface. This improves soil structure, increases water-holding capacity, and promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms. It also helps to prevent soil erosion and runoff, which can have a detrimental effect on water quality and ecosystem health.

Finally, Hybrid Black Poplar is an important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The tree provides food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds, mammals, and insects, including woodpeckers, owls, squirrels, and butterflies. It is also a host plant for the caterpillars of the poplar hawkmoth, a large and impressive species that is found throughout much of Europe and Asia.

Hybrid Black Poplar is a versatile tree that can grow in a variety of environments and soil types, making it a popular choice for landscaping and reforestation projects. It is often used to create windbreaks, screen unwanted views, and provide shade and privacy in urban and suburban settings. Its attractive foliage and tall, columnar shape also make it a popular ornamental tree in parks, gardens, and public spaces.

Moreover, Hybrid Black Poplar is a valuable source of wood for a variety of purposes. Its wood is lightweight, strong, and easy to work with, making it ideal for construction, furniture making, and paper production. It is also used in the manufacture of musical instruments, such as guitars, violins, and drum shells, due to its unique tonal qualities and resonance.

In addition, Hybrid Black Poplar has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive disorders, and skin conditions. The bark and leaves contain a range of compounds, including tannins, flavonoids, and essential oils, that have been shown to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Finally, Hybrid Black Poplar is an important component of riparian ecosystems, providing critical habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species. Its leaves, bark, and twigs are a source of food and shelter for fish, amphibians, and insects, while its root system stabilizes stream banks and reduces erosion. It also helps to regulate water temperature and quality, and plays an important role in nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration.

In conclusion, Hybrid Black Poplar is a fascinating and valuable tree that offers a wide range of benefits and uses. Whether you are interested in its environmental, economic, or medicinal properties, it is a tree that is sure to leave a lasting impression and make a positive impact on our world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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