Populus is a taxonomic genus of 25–35 species of trees in the family Salicaceae. They are best known for poplar, aspen, and cottonwood, which are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere, and are used for a variety of purposes such as fuel pellets, cabinet doors, and wind breaks for landscaping.
The poplar has many varieties. A few are the Balsam Poplar, the White Poplar, and the Eastern Cotonwood, from studying these we can get a deeper knowledge of the poplar tree.
The Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera) is a perennial that requires much sun but little water. It often blooms in the spring/summer time, and has yellow flowers and brown seeds. The maximum height is approximately 80 feet.
The White Poplar (Populus alba) is also a perennial that thrives in the spring/summertime. It is slightly larger than the Balsam, growing at a maximum on 100 feet. This tree also has yellow flowers, but varies with its white seeds (reminiscent of its name) and is slightly more water deficient than the Balsam but still needs a lot of sun.
The Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) can outgrow all previously mentioned plants with a maximum of 190 feet. Like the White poplar it bears yellow flowers and white seeds. As with the Balsam and White Poplar, the Eastern Cottonwood needs a lot of sunshine and grows in the spring/summertime. Its cousin, the Freemont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii) only grows to about 90 feet, and bears white flowers and seeds. Like all poplars it grows in summer/spring for maximum sunshine and medium water.
In addition to sexually reproduction, populars can undergo “vegetative reproduction”. This form of plant reproduction is unique in that it involves no seeds or spouting off of any kind of reproductive organisms. This form of reproduction uses the stemming off of young usually from the root area. This is extremely useful for plants in large forests that are sparse and don’t grow in clusters where spores or things of that nature would work successfully. This has been a curiosity to many scientists on how the products of vegetative reproduction are almost completely different from the parent plant and how their life spans are unusually long.
Hybrids and Uses
Hybrids are ever increasing in our world today. Production stops for no one and agriculture must keep up with the times by producing better, faster, and stronger versions of their crops. Poplars are extremely tall trees and coveted for their wood supply. This includes: kitchen cabinets and countertops, firewood, wood for furniture products, and more. Now with the hybrid trees we can make new species to specialize in the types of things we need from the wood such as: palletizing the wood for fuel, increasing forest density, making for an easily maintained and healthier life span(for farmers to take care of and keep in a good condition).
Another perk of hybrid trees is the increasing interest from conservation groups. The hybrid trees have a better guarantee of living longer and stronger and reproduction can be monitored easily. This makes for a perfect situation for breeders who want mass quantities of a good, long-living tree.
- Poplar Tree - Information About Gardening Garden Guides
- Hybrid PoplarWesMin RC&D
- Vegetative Reproduction Wikipedia