The land of lovely poplars

Between the Great Dividing Range in western NSW, and the Tasman Sea to the east, is the land of beautiful poplars. These aren’t native to Australia, but have naturalised, and in autumn are a delightful sight as one travels the highways and regional roads.


They generally grow close to watercourses where they form clumps and avenues, reproducing by suckering rather than by seed dispersal.

The main species is the Lombardy poplar, Populus nigra (Italica). This is the classic narrow pencil-shaped poplar. These were often grown on farms as formal avenues and windbreaks. From childhood I remember plantations on the north coast of NSW, reputedly used for timber to make matchsticks.


In a “good” autumn the Lombardy poplars are magnificent, their deep golden yellow foliage like flaming torches lining the sides of the roads. The small leaves fluttering in the breeze with sunlight glancing off them, create a magical effect.


There’s another kind of poplar- with a more spreading form and leaves which are grey-green on the upward side and silver-grey on the underside. In autumn these turn a paler yellow than the Lombardy poplar. This variety is common along creek banks.


Can your tell me the name of this species of poplar?

To see more photos of the fantastic autumn foliage in central western NSW, have a look at my post from 2018, Mudgee dazzles in autumn.


One Comment Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    There are too many species of poplar for me to guess what yours is. A few have that silvery gray tomentum on the undersides of the foliage. Are all poplars exotic there? It would be easier to identify if it were a native species.

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