Populus x canescens
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Common Name: Grey Poplar
Populus x canescens is a Deciduous Tree up to 30.00 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Europe, from Britain and France east to S. Russia, south to Italy and Macedonia.
Probably native in damp woods in S. C. and E. England[
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil[
]. Prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain[
]. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils[
]. Plants are reasonably wind tolerant, though they do not grow well in exposed upland sites[
]. They also tolerate salt-laden winds but not saline soils[
]. They dislike shade and are intolerant of root or branch competition[
This species is a spontaneous natural hybrid, P. alba x P. tremula[
]. There are several named forms selected for their ornamental value[
Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building's foundations by drying out the soil[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the bark of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body[
]. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps[
A fast growing tree, tolerant of salt winds, it can be grown in a shelterbelt[
Wood - soft, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion[
Seed - must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring[
]. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening[
]. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing[
]. This species is a hybrid and will not come true from seed.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 20 - 40cm long, late autumn in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy.
Suckers in early spring[
Root cuttings in winter[