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This article is about woody plants of the genus Populus.

Poplar, Aspen, Cottonwood
A poplar tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Salicales
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Many, see text

Populus is a genus of trees which includes the cottonwoods, poplars, and aspens, all of which are sometimes termed poplars.

Poplars are deciduous, and turn bright gold to yellow before their leaves fall. The leaves of many poplars, including the cottonwoods and aspens (but not the balsam poplars), have laterally-flattened stems, so that breezes easily cause the leaves to wobble back and forth, giving the whole tree a "twinkling" appearance in a breeze.

Like willows, many poplars have very strong and invasive root systems, so they must not be planted too close to houses or waterpipes as they will crack walls and pipes in their search for moisture.

Poplars of the cottonwood section are often wetlands or riparian trees. The aspens are among the most important boreal broadleaf trees.


  • Populus section Populus - aspens and white poplar. Circumpolar subarctic & cool temperate, and mountains further south (white poplar warm temperate)
    • Populus tremula - Common Aspen or Eurasian Aspen. Europe, northern Asia.
    • Populus tremuloides - Quaking Aspen. North America.
    • Populus grandidentata - Bigtooth Aspen. Eastern North America.
    • Populus adenopoda - Chinese Aspen. Eastern Asia.
    • Populus sieboldii - Japanese Aspen. Eastern Asia.
    • Populus alba - White Poplar. Southern Europe to central Asia.
      • Populus x canescens (P. alba x P. tremula) - Grey Poplar
  • Populus section Aegiros - black poplars or cottonwoods. North America, Europe, western Asia; temperate
    • Populus nigra - Black Poplar. Europe.
    • Populus deltoides - Eastern Cottonwood. Eastern North America.
    • Populus angustifolia - Narrowleaf Cottonwood. Central North America.
    • Populus fremontii - Fremont Cottonwood. Western North America.
  • Populus section Tacamahaca - balsam poplars. North America, Asia; cool temperate
    • Populus balsamifera - Ontario Balsam Poplar. Northern North America.
    • Populus trichocarpa - Western Balsam Poplar or Black Cottonwood. Western North America.
    • Populus laurifolia - Laurel-leaf Poplar. Central Asia.
    • Populus simonii - Simon's Poplar. Northeast Asia.
    • Populus maximowiczii - Maximowicz' Poplar. Northeast Asia.
  • Populus section Leucoides - necklace poplar s or bigleaf poplars. Eastern North America, eastern Asia; warm temperate
    • Populus heterophylla - Swamp Cottonwood. Southeastern North America.
    • Populus lasiocarpa - Chinese Necklace Poplar. Eastern Asia.
    • Populus wilsonii - Wilson's Poplar. Eastern Asia.
  • Populus section Turanga - subtropical poplars. Southwest Asia, east Africa; subtropical to tropical
    • Populus euphratica - Euphrates Poplar. Southwest Asia.
    • Populus ilicifolia - Tana River Poplar. East Africa.

Last updated: 02-04-2005 03:11:54
Last updated: 02-26-2005 20:25:43