Ajuntament de Barcelona

Populus nigra

Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Poll negre
    Spanish name: 
    Álamo negro
    English name: 
    Black poplar
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Populus betulifolia, Populus croatica, Populus italica, Populus pannonica, Populus sinensis, Populus thevestina, Populus fastigiata, Populus pyramidalis

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of this plant is least concern.

    Species characteristics
    Northern Africa, Europe and central and Eastern Asia.
    Riparian forest

    Deciduous tree 20-30 m tall, although occasionally it can reach 40 m, with thick (up to 1.5 m in diameter) and usually straight trunk. The crown is wide but usually not mutch dense, although it is more dense than the crown of other species of the same genus, as the white poplar (Populus alba) or the aspen (Populus tremula). The bark is smooth and greyish and when aging it cracks longitudinally, leaving blackish marks.

    The leaves, 5-8 cm long and 6-8 cm wide, are triangular or rhomboid, with a pointed apex and crenate or jagged margins. When they appear, after the blossoming, they are pubescent, but soon they become glabrous and green on both sides. They have a petiole 2-6 cm long, laterally compressed and slightly tomentose (covered by a kind of down) while young.

    The flowers are cup-shaped and grouped in capkins (red the masculine ones and yellowish green the feminine ones).

    The fruits are ovoid capsules with dun seeds, which are covered by many white woolliness).

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Black poplar wood (soft, light and fragile) is adequate for light carpentry works and construction where it does not support heavy weights.

    Its bark is used to leather tanning because of its high content in salt and the tannins, of course.

    Leaves are used to feed cattle during Winter. Its medical properties have a use in popular medicine to treat several aches.

    It has a rapid growth and is used in gardening as an aisling tree. It can also be found in the wild.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Populus nigra, consists of the genus name Populus, from the Latin populus, “popular”, and the Latin term nigra, “black”, in allusion to the blackish marks that appear in the bark with the passing of time.

    The black poplar spread in Europe circa middle 18th c.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996