The poplars, aspens, and cot ton woods are all members of the same genus, fhe leaves are mostly toothed and somewhat triangular, with 3-5 main veins meeting near the leaf base, i lie leafstalks of all poplars are unusually lout;: the drawings do not show the entire stalks. In sonic species the leafstalks are flattened and the leaves flutter even in a slight breeze. Poplar buds are unique among plants with 3 bundle scars in that the lowermost bud scale of side buds is always in the outside position directly above the leaf scar. In other plants the lowermost bud scales are lateral. The true end buds may have more scales than the side
buds. The hark of most species is distinctively smooth and greenish white when young and dark-furrowed when older, The twigs are often sharply angled. Fruits of poplars are in long, clustered, caterpillarlike catkins, which often release "cottony" seeds. The sexes are separate in poplars. Male plants of White Poplar, Cray Poplar, and Balm-of-Cilead are unknown in our area.
Distributed widely in the Northern Hemisphere, trees of the poplar group may form extensive forests on barren, burned, or cleared areas. Rapid-growing, short-lived species, they are of most value for paper pulp, though some of the soft lumber is used in construction work and in the manufacture of boxes and wooden-ware. Some kinds are of value as ornamentals and windbreaks. Seeds, buds, and twigs are important foods of numerous birds and mammals, including ruffed, spruce, and sharptail grouse, prairie chicken, whitetail deer, moose, beaver, porcupine, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbit, and black bear,
WHITE POPLAR Poputus alba L, n. 322
Recognition: European, A tall tree with white-woolly leaves, twigs, and buds. Leaves somewhat leathery, with a few large blunt teeth (or shallow lobes). Leafstalks round, Bark smooth and whitish above, often thick and dark at Sase, Spreads by means of sucker shoots. Leaves 2" 6Height 60'-80' (100 ); diameter 2'-3' (4'),
Similar species: No other tree is as silvery white in all aspects. (1 Gray Poplar has gray-hairy, sharply toothed leaves, (2) Bigtooth Aspen has wide-toothed leaves.
GRAY POPLAR Papains canescens (Ait.) Sm, Not illus.
Recognition: Similar to W hite Poplar but leaf undersurfaces and twigs gray-hairy, I .eaves never lobed, but rather sharply toothed, A European tree that has spread from cultivation; New England and Minnesota southward.
BIGTOOTH ASPEN Populus grandidentata Michx. p. 322 Recognition: A small to medium-sized tree with 5-15 pairs of large leaf teeth and flattened leafstalks. Leaves white-woolly beneath when young. Twigs hairless or s ightly gray-silky; buds decidedly gray-hairv. Bark mostly smooth yellow-green. Leaves 2"-6". Height 30'-40' (80'); diameter l'-2\ Similar species: (1) W hite 'oplar has distinctively white-hairy leaves, twigs, and buds. (2) Quaking Aspen is similar in general aspect but has fine-toothed leaves, hairless buds, and often more whitish mature bark.
COMMON COTTONWOOD pp. 5T 322
Populus deltoides Marsh.
Recognition: A tall tree with coarse-toothed leaves which have 2-3 small but obvious glands (use lens) at top of flattened
V, POPLARS AND OAKS
Similar species: Only poplar with end buds gummy yet under
Recognition: A northern tree with fine-toothed leaves and rounded (or occasionally slightly flattened) leafstalks. Leaves usually hairless but may be slightly hairy 011 veins beneath. Twigs dark brown and hairless. End buds more than gummy, spicy-fragrant when crushed; 5 bud scales. Side buds have 2 visible scales. Mature bark dark and grooved; gray-green and smooth on younger parts. Leaves 3"-8". Height 30-80' (100'); diameter I'-3' (6').
Similar species: (1) Balm-of-Gilead is more hairy and has 3 exposed scales on the side buds. See (2) Common and (3) Swamp Cottonwoods.
Remarks: Frequently called Balm-of-Gilead (see also next species),
BALM-OF-GILEAD Populus gileadensis Rouleau p, 322
Recognition: A large sterile tree that may be only a variety of Balsam Poplar, but leaf undersides, leafstalks, and twigs somewhat hairy. Side buds have 3 visible scales. Leaves 3"-8'\ Height 50-70' (80'); diameter 1-3' (6'). Reproduces by sprouts.
Was this article helpful?