poplar

Country of origin: Olivia Beens
Plant: Poplar tree

Poplar, any of several species of trees belonging to the genus Populus of the willow family (Salicaceae). The genus Populus contains at least 35 species of trees, along with a number of natural hybrids. The poplar species native to North America are divided into three main groups: the cottonwoods, the aspens, and the balsam poplars. Aspens usually have smooth gray to green barkand nonsticky buds, while cottonwoods and balsam poplars have sticky buds and bark that is darker and deeply furrowed.
Poplars are rapid-growing but relatively short-lived trees. They are widely distributed throughout the northern temperate regions, ranging from North America through Eurasia and northern Africa, with a few species extending even beyond the Arctic Circle. The leaves are alternate and ovate or heart-shaped in outline, with finely to coarsely toothed margins. The leaves tremble in the slightest breeze because of their laterally compressed petioles. Male and female flowers grow on separate trees and bloom in drooping catkins long before the leaves emerge. The fruits, which mature before the leaves are fully grown, are small, thick-walled capsules that contain many minute seeds clothed in cottony tufts of silky hairs, which assist in wind dispersal. The wood of poplars is relatively soft and hence is mostly used to make cardboard boxes, crates, paper, and veneer.