Populus alba L.

White Poplar

Sp. Pl 1034 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Tree to c. 20 m high; bark greyish-white, becoming rough on older trunks; young shoots densely white-tomentose. Buds ovoid, densely white-tomentose. Leaves of 2 kinds; those toward the apex of long-shoots usually deeply palmatifid (maple-like), 3–12 cm long and wide, ultimately glabrous and dark green above, remaining densely white-tomentose below; leaves of short-shoots ovate, irregularly and bluntly sinuate-lobed, 3–6(–8) cm long and wide, glabrous above, variably white-tomentose to greyish-glabrescent below. Catkins appearing before leaves; catkin-scales entire, ovate to obovate. Male catkins 4–7 cm long; stamens 5–10, anthers purple. Female catkins 3–5 cm long (to c. 8 cm in fruit); with stigmas bilobed from the base (appearing as a 4-rayed stigma). Capsule c. 3 mm long, dehiscing via 2 valves. Flowers ? Aug.–Sep.

*CVU, *EGL, *GipP, *Gold, *HSF, *OtP, *VVP. Also naturalised WA, Qld, NSW. Native to central and southeastern Europe to central Asia. Recorded in Victoria from roadsides and riparian forests near e.g. Ballarat, Ferntree Gully and Orbost.

Australian plants appear to be all female, this being the common condition also in Britain (Meikle 1984).

Plants may be easily confused with P. ×canescens  (a fertile hybrid derived from P. alba and P. tremula L. (Aspen)). See note under that species. Populus alba 'Pyramidalis', a non-suckering cultivar of narrower form, and probably several other cultivars, are also grown as ornamentals in Victoria.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Populus. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Andre Messina, 2015-08-07
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malpighiales
family Salicaceae
genus Populus
Higher taxa
species Populus alba L.


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Populus alba in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Populus alba in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory