English poplar

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A hardwood tree, Populus nigra, of the willow family native to Europe. Classified as a black poplar because of its bark color, the English poplar is a medium to large sized deciduous tree reaching 20-30 m with trunks averaging 1.5 m. Poplar leaves are diamond shaped and green on both sides. The typical tree grows quickly and is very specifc to species and growing locations. In general, poplar produces a soft, lightweight wood that is easy to work. The yellowish white wood has a fine, uniform grain but it is prone to warping. It is primarily used for paneling, light construction, packing crates and paper pulp. A yellowish dye can be extracted from the fresh leaves of the poplar. On wool, it produces a brass color with a chrome mordant and a yellow-brown color with an alum mordant. The extract does not dye cotton.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Populus nigra; peuplier noir (Fr.); álamo negro (Esp.); choupo negro (Port.); pioppo nero (It.); black poplar; Lombardy poplar

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Color: Heartwood is light brown; sapwood in pale yellow to white
  • Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to slightly interlocked. Medium texture with low luster.
  • Durability: Not resistant to rot or insect attack.
  • Density = 25 ppcf

Working Properties

  • Easy to work with hand and machine tools
  • Sharp cutters are necessary when planing to avoid fuzzy surfaces.
  • Wood has a tendency to warp and distort during drying.
  • Glues and finishes well.

Resources and Citations

The Wood Database: Black poplar