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(poplar), a genus of plants of the family Salicaceae. The plants are dioecious deciduous trees reaching 40–45 m in height and having trunks measuring as much as 1 m across. The variously shaped leaves are petioled and alternate. The flowers, which are located in the bracteal axils, are dentate or dissected into filamentous lobes. They consist of a cup- or saucer-shaped disk, which bears a pistil (in pistillate flowers) or numerous stamens (in staminate flowers). The flowers are gathered into drooping catkins, which appear before or simultaneously with the opening of the leaves. Pollination is by wind. The fruit is a capsule with numerous tiny, hairy seeds, which are scattered by the wind.
There are more than 100 poplar species (according to other data, 35 to 40), distributed primarily in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Poplars are found as far south as Tanzania, Uganda, and northern Mexico. The USSR has about 30 species, 12 of which have been introduced. Many poplar species are ornamental, grow rapidly, and can be propagated vegetatively by cuttings and root suckers. For this reason, they are often used in landscaping. Cultivated species include the tacamahac (P. balsamifera), the abele (P. alba), the Mongolian poplar (P. suaveolens), the cottonwood (P. deltoides), the black poplar (P. nigra), the European aspen (P. trémula), and the Lombardy poplar (P. pyramidalis). A number of hybrids are also cultivated.
Poplar wood is lightweight, white, and soft. It is used in the manufacture of paper and matches, in construction work, and in the production of plywood, crates, and other items.
REFERENCESDerev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
V. N. GLADKOVA