12 March 2007

Black Poplar - Chase Nature Reserve,

The Black Poplar (Populus nigra var betulifolia) is one of Britain’s most endangered native timber trees. There are only 3000 specimens, of which just 600 are female.

The Black Poplar was once a common sight in Britain. It was a very useful source of timber and was often planted near farms and villages and used for scaffolding, wagon making, even for arrows - a Black Poplar in Portsmouth is the descendant of one used to make arrows for the armoury of the Mary Rose.

However, the Black Poplar needs very specialised conditions in which to propagate. The seeds need to lie undisturbed on bare, wet mud or silt from June to October to germinate successfully. These conditions became harder to find as suitable habitats were lost.

Also as the need for native timber dwindled fewer Black Poplars were planted, this propagation difficulty became more important. Even worse, as a rule only male trees were planted: the females were considered a nuisance because of the drifting white down they produce.

thanks to Peter Roe’s informative Black Poplar website for this information.

It is nice to know that a local nature reserve, the Chase has six female specimens. These photographs were taken here earlier today.

London Wildlife Trust


elasticwaistbandlady said...

Isn't it considered rude in polite English society to go about checking on the sex of the trees? I mean, I've seen some people that have seriously made me wonder boy/girl, male/female but I didn't make the requisite check to know for sure. Poor, poor, little violated poplar trees.

Always On Watch said...

Off topic....I just blogrolled the two of your sites which I most often frequent.

beakerkin said...

Interesting that this species has males and females. The Poplars in my yard grew from roots.


I didn't know you visit this site. Jams does have some interesting photos.


The global age has meant wildlife itself can be homogenized.

jams o donnell said...

WE merely ask "Are you a gentleman or are you a lady?" ewbl! Mercifully the check is not invasive but I am an ignoramus on such matters. Mercifully the group of Black Poplars was signposted and the Chase's website says it has six female Black Poplars!

Thanks AOW much appreciated!

Nice to have a yard that can cope with poplars Beakerkin! If we had one of that size the not wide would have plans,, and those plans would entail a lot of hard physical work for me!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Maybe Poplars would see a population increase if they could just get a little bit more privacy. The tourists and all their flashing cameras have really taken a toll on this notoriously bashful species. They're not into tree porn. Gah!

jams o donnell said...

if only it was tourists,ewbl! It is very fortunate that the area they are in was probably too much effort to build on... I will be going back to photograph it over the coming months.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Good post, like the photos. Nice to read about a rare tree.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks.. I'm glad you like it crafty gree poet. To be honest, I really am an ignoramuse on trees but the rarity and the presence of a few of them locally caught my interest