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Lombardy Poplar

Populus nigra italica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Salicaceae (Willow)
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 metres tall
Gardens, parks, waterside.

Red, no petals
Male and female catkins appear on separate trees. Males are red and females green. Wind pollinated.
The seeds look woolly and fall like snow in late summer. It is often referred to as 'poplar snow'.
A deciduous tree. Long-stalked, alternate and heart-shaped to triangular-shaped leaves tapering to a point, up to 12cm long. The edges of the leaves are finely serrated. Not hairy. The glossy leaves turn yellow in autumn.
Other Names:
Italian Poplar, Lady Poplar.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Populus nigra italica, also known as the Lombardy poplar, is a subspecies of the black poplar (Populus nigra) that is native to Italy and the Balkans. It is a tall, fast-growing tree that can reach heights of up to 30 meters. It is known for its columnar or pyramidal shape, with a single straight trunk and a narrow crown. The leaves are triangular and dark green in color. The bark is dark in color and deeply furrowed, giving it a rough texture. 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.


Lombardy Poplar, scientifically known as Populus nigra italica, is a fast-growing deciduous tree species that is native to northern Italy. The tree is known for its striking vertical growth habit, making it a popular choice for landscape design and windbreaks. Lombardy Poplars are commonly used in urban and suburban areas due to their ability to withstand pollution and adapt to different soil types.


Lombardy Poplar trees are medium to large-sized trees that can reach a height of up to 100 feet, with a spread of 20-25 feet. They have an upright and columnar growth habit, with a narrow and pyramidal crown. The tree's bark is dark gray, deeply furrowed, and rough to the touch.

Lombardy Poplars have a unique and attractive foliage that is a deep green color and is shaped like a heart. The leaves are long, narrow, and pointed, measuring up to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. The tree's leaves turn yellow in the fall, creating a beautiful contrast with the dark bark.


Lombardy Poplar trees are relatively easy to grow and require full sunlight and well-drained soil. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral soils but can adapt to a wide range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils. Lombardy Poplars are drought-tolerant and can survive in areas with low rainfall but require regular watering during the first few years of growth.

Propagation of Lombardy Poplar trees is usually done through cuttings or grafting, as seeds are not commonly used due to the high variability of the resulting trees. The trees grow quickly and can reach maturity in as little as 10-15 years.


Lombardy Poplar trees are commonly used for landscape design, including as focal points, screens, and windbreaks. They are also used for erosion control and as shade trees for livestock. The wood of Lombardy Poplar trees is light in color and relatively soft, making it unsuitable for furniture and construction, but it is used for paper production, particleboard, and other wood products.

In conclusion, Lombardy Poplar, Populus nigra italica, is a striking tree species that is commonly used in urban and suburban areas for its unique growth habit and ability to withstand pollution and adapt to different soil types. With its tall, narrow columnar shape and deep green foliage, Lombardy Poplars are an excellent choice for landscape design, windbreaks, and erosion control.

More Information

Lombardy Poplar trees are also known for their ability to absorb pollutants and improve air quality, making them a valuable addition to urban environments. They are frequently planted along highways, in parking lots, and in other areas with high levels of pollution.

One of the main benefits of Lombardy Poplar trees is their rapid growth rate. They can grow up to 6 feet per year and reach maturity within a relatively short period of time. This makes them an ideal choice for landscaping projects that require quick results.

However, the fast growth of Lombardy Poplars can also make them a nuisance in certain situations. They have a shallow root system, which can make them susceptible to wind damage and can cause problems with underground utilities and structures. Additionally, their rapid growth can lead to a need for frequent pruning to maintain their shape and prevent them from becoming too tall.

In terms of care, Lombardy Poplar trees require minimal maintenance once established. They benefit from regular watering during dry spells and occasional fertilization. Pruning should be done in the late fall or early winter to maintain their shape and remove any dead or damaged branches.

Lombardy Poplar, Populus nigra italica, is a versatile and attractive tree species that can provide numerous benefits in both urban and rural environments. Whether used for landscaping, windbreaks, erosion control, or pollution mitigation, Lombardy Poplars are an excellent choice for those seeking a fast-growing and visually appealing tree species.

While Lombardy Poplar trees have many benefits, they are not without their drawbacks. One potential issue is their susceptibility to pests and diseases. These trees are vulnerable to a number of pests, including aphids, scales, and borers, as well as diseases such as canker and leaf spot.

To prevent pest and disease problems, Lombardy Poplar trees should be planted in well-drained soil and kept healthy through regular watering and fertilization. Additionally, pruning should be done carefully to avoid creating wounds that can become infected.

Another consideration when planting Lombardy Poplar trees is their potential to become invasive in certain regions. These trees have been known to spread quickly and can crowd out native plant species if not properly controlled.

In some areas, Lombardy Poplar trees are considered invasive and are subject to regulation or even banned from planting. Before planting Lombardy Poplars, it is important to research local regulations and choose a planting site that will not cause any negative impacts on the surrounding environment.

One interesting aspect of Lombardy Poplar trees is their historical significance. The tree species is named after the Lombardy region of Italy, where it is believed to have originated. Lombardy Poplars were introduced to other parts of Europe in the 17th century and eventually made their way to North America in the 18th century.

Lombardy Poplars have been used throughout history for a variety of purposes. In ancient Rome, the tree's bark was used to make shields and the wood was used for furniture and tool handles. In modern times, Lombardy Poplar trees are primarily used for landscaping and environmental purposes, but their wood is still used for paper production and other industrial applications.

Another interesting fact about Lombardy Poplar trees is that they have a symbolic meaning in some cultures. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the tree was associated with the goddess Isis and was seen as a symbol of resurrection and new life. In Chinese culture, Lombardy Poplar trees are associated with peace and the concept of "harmony in diversity."

Overall, Lombardy Poplar trees are a fascinating species with a rich history and numerous benefits. From their rapid growth to their attractive appearance and environmental benefits, Lombardy Poplars are a versatile and valuable addition to any landscape. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential drawbacks of these trees and take steps to prevent any negative impacts on the surrounding environment.


The Lombardy Poplar filmed in Chorley, Lancashire on the 23rd April 2023.


Music credits
Daytime TV Theme by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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