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Poplar, from Populus, is the name of a very well-known and rather widespread tree in the northern hemisphere, which does not affect its fame and beauty. It belongs to the Salicaceae family and it grows very rapidly, up to 30 meters, the records of height also vary from species to species and there are about thirty poplar trees. In Italy we meet many of these trees in Po Valley: it is grown near the banks of the Po 'and even just passing by by car or train, its presence is immediately noticeable.
The P. white it has lighter leaves but the color is clear even on the bark which is certainly not too dark in nature. When we speak specifically of white poplars, however, we mean the "populus alba”, With bark and underside of white leaves. It can be confused with the gray one, which, however, usually grows more in height, as well as being less candid.
White or not white, the foliage of this tree is not dense, it has an elegant and slender shape, which makes the poplar seem taller than it is. This light color, well distinguishable from those of other trees, makes it particularly popular even when it comes to create "movement" visual in parks and gardens. Straight straight and gnarled, the trunk has many ramifications, the bark is white, at most a gray color but always very light, which darkens slightly with age but never reaching dark shades.
Among the thirty widespread species of poplar there is also the black one. In truth, the bark of the specimens of this variety is not really black but it can be noticed and is called this way because it is actually much darker than average. It immediately assumes a gray, accentuated hue, and the leaves are slightly darker, even copper-colored in spring. Other species is the one called "balsamina" because it has winter buds that when they open in spring, give off a strong and pleasant scent.
Very less common than black and white, but with a name that arouses curiosity, there is also the "tremulous". It is called so, as imaginable, why even in the presence of a very very slight breeze, its foliage and every single leaflet trembles, vibrates, shakes delicately.
The leaves of the poplars they are very easy to recognize more by color than by shape. The shape is oval, or rhomboid, they can also be lobed, however, the most evident thing, however, is the fact that the upper part takes on a brown-green color and it is more shiny while the lower one is lighter and opaque.
With this tree, with many of these trees, they are often created screens or windbreak barriers. However, they must be protected from dangers such as chrysomela, which gnaws at the leaves and causes them to deform or, especially in younger and neglected plants, death.
Poplar: wood characteristics
In turn, the wood has its enemies, first of all or almost all the weevil larva which, by digging tunnels inside the branches, "kills" the less resistant plants for drying. A pity because the wood of this plant is particularly beautiful and appreciated. Not only for furniture and furnishings but also for garden accessories. Which? For example the decorative birdhouse, 6 × 6 cm, on Amazon available for € 3.69 including rope to hang it
Before concluding, a hint to the "defect" better known than this tree, the pollen that drives those who are allergic to it so crazy. This problem is quite widespread and annoying. The fruits, which look like small egg-shaped capsules, contain fluffy seeds but when they mature, they release seeds that come later scattered in the wind. And so they go to annoy that he is allergic to it.
Let's first of all find out where his name comes from. From Latin "Populus ", in fact, it is associated with the idea of tree of the people but it is done wrongly because the etymology is different and not well known, it could also be Greek.
There are other less technical and more creative assumptions such as the one that derives the name of this tree from Piazza del Popolo of Rome, from an ancient grove of black poplars that would have grown there in unsuspecting times. From Rome we pass to Venice where we find one boat all in poplar wood built by the boatman from Chioggia Antonio Salani who won the first historic regatta in the city. Still the same wood would have been used by Leonardo da Vinci for a completely different purpose, namely to paint his famous one Mona Lisa. Not the wood but the bark, it can also be eaten, seasoned with a little oil and salt, only after having been thoroughly washed.
We find this tree very present also in Celtic culture where it represents one plant dedicated to the dead in battle and a zodiac sign for those born between February 4-8, May 1-14, August 5-13, November 3-11, people who tend to pessimism, contemplation and criticism.
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