Populus nigra var. italica Münchh.

Lombardy Poplar

A more or less columnar tree to about 40 m tall with branches upright and angled close to the single main trunk. Bark fissured and sometimes with large growths on older trees. Leaves triangular to almost rhomboidal with the blade as broad as long, leaves having a translucent, bluntly toothed border and without glands at the junction of leaf and blade, tip long pointed; yellow in autumn. Leaf stalk flattened laterally.

Garden origin

This is a male clone. Although this plant is generally known under the cultivar name 'Italica' evidence now suggests that it is probably an 18th century selection of a natural variant from Lombardy, Italy.

It is a strongly suckering tree that has naturalised in the Upper Genoa River, Victoria and also in parts of New South Wales.

The species P. nigra is a widespreading tree not grown in SE Australia.

ACT: Old Parliament House courtyard. VIC: Buchan (caves); Castlemaine (Castlemaine Botanical Gardens); Malvern (Central Park, Hedgeley Dene Gardens); Healesville (Maroondah Reservoir Park, extremely tall trees behind dam); Melbourne (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (Melbourne Gardens) boundary; Shrine of Rememberance; Springvale (Springvale Botanical Cemetery, boundary); Terang; Wandilagong. NSW: Bathurst (Sportsground and elsewhere in district); Jugiong (avenue along main street); Orange (Cook Park); Kelso (roadside). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens); Launceston (Arbour Park, City Park, St Davids Park); Plenty (Salmon Ponds Heritage Hatchery & Gardens)

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Salicaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Populus nigra var. italica 'Chile'

Smaller-growing evergreen or semi-evergreen clone. (var. chilensis. 'Sempervirens')

Probably raised in Chile as a somatic mutant of the Lombardy Poplar; growth is often at first more rapid than that of var. italica; it is a male clone susceptible to rust fungus, now rarely planted and usually grafted onto P. simonii stock to prevent suckering.

Introduced to Australia from South Africa before 1955. A large suite of material was raised at the Botany Department of Australian National University in Canberra from crosses between this clone and P. deltoides commencing in 1965 and a few of these have found use in public plantings e.g. at Australian National University (Burgmann College).. The clone 65/1 is one such clone which is semi-evergreen and relatively rust-resistant. 65/31 is deciduous and is now used in silviculture. Others include 65/5, 65/88 and 65/99.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malpighiales
family       Salicaceae
genus        Populus L.
species         Populus nigra L.