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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Populus nigra 'Italica'

The Lombardy Poplar is a classic tree with its distinct narrow habit that you can see from miles away. It is very commonly seen in orchards as windbreaks and perhaps in its native region of Italy. Thankfully it is not used much anymore in residential areas, at least by friendly neighbors. This is a large, narrow, upright deciduous tree growing very fast to 50 - 60' x 10-15' wide. The tree is notorious for suckering and has very invasive roots.

Leaves are alternate, simple rhombic-ovate to triangular, 2-4", serrated margins with an accumulate tip. Dark green upper, lighter beneath. Like most poplars the petiole is oval in cross section, which causes the leaf to move slightly in the wind. 

Flowers are males only and do not produce the "cotton".

Stems are slender, light brown. Terminal bud long and pointed.

Bark is gray or dark gray and fissured.

Not planted much any more due to a canker disease (Cytospora canker)  that will kill the tree.

Misidentification: Other poplars maybe, look at the leaf, this one is very deltoid, but also look at the shape. There are some hybrid poplars that are narrow and grow really fast, but I dont think I have seen them here.

Location: Along highway 1 between the old drive-in movie theater (now the swap meet- sooner or later to be the new Sutter hospital building)

Santa Cruz: on the boarder of the Ross Store along Hiway 1

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