Silver poplar, abele, silverleaf poplar, white poplar (Eng), álamo blanco, álamo (Spa), àlber (Cat), zurzuria (Baq), chopo branco, álamo branco (Glg), choupo branco, álamo-branco (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, is painted on a board made of silver poplar.
Deciduous tree up to 25 m tall, with a straight, cylindrical trunk. The bark is greyish or greenish-white and fissures longitudinally with age. The leaves are alternate, wide and very variable in shape (toothed-angled or palmate-lobed), and either symmetrical or not. They are pale green on the upper side and have a characteristic whitish or silver tomentum on the underside. The female flowers appear in elongated hanging bunches (catkins). The fruits are capsules that open when ripe to release seeds wrapped in a cottony material that helps them be dispersed by the wind. This fluff, which all poplars and willows produce, is often confused with pollen.
This is a tree that prefers lowland areas and is not found at such high altitudes as its relatives because it does not withstand frost very well. For this reason it generally occupies the most fertile areas of meadows in the middle and lower reaches of rivers. It is associated with river systems, fountains and springs, forming copses, where it sometimes mixes with other riparian species. It can live in clayey soils and does well in limey substrates, but is absent where the land is saline.
This species lives in central and southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, although it is widely used as an ornamental and for repopulating areas. On the Peninsula, it grows naturally in almost all regions, with the exception of the most humid areas of the northwest and the Cornisa Cantábrica. In the Balearic Islands is considered an introduced species.