Know tree leaves -5   Poplars and Aspen

Almost golden in its final  hue the Lombardy poplar,presents many shades and markings which give it a picturesque beauty,during early autumn. Its leaf is almost triangular and the margins somewhat  broadly indented. The venation consists of a wavy mid-vein which divides the leaf in two,and a irregular series of waved,much-forked veins,branching from it. Running across the course of these principle veins are a second series of smaller ones,and within these,there is a close network of venules.

AUTUMN COLOUR---The variations of autumn colouring are shown by the presence on the same tree of leaves of normal summer colour green, pale green,golden green, orange and yellow,with light and golden brown. Contrasting shades of these colours may be encountered upon the same leaf. However, it is more frequently  in the differences observable in an aggregation of leaves that the autumn character of the Lombardy poplar id exhibited.

Summer foliage of the Lombardy poplar

Courtesy of Famartin  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 unported license

Painting of Lombardy poplars Artist Fyodor Vasilyev 1850-1873. Public Domain

Poplars and Aspen

The foliage of the White and Black poplars and the Aspen are distinguished by their clearly marked characters. The white underside contrasting  strongly with the glossy green upper surface has given rise to the common name for the white poplar. The general form of the leaf is roundish but it has a pointed apex and its margins are broadly wavy,or cut into short,rounded lobes.

The principle veins,which diverging from the mid-vein,are forked as they near the margin-a vein or fork proceeding to the apex of each lobe-are crossed by a series of veinlets that run nearly at right angles with them in a course that can clearly be traced on either side of the leaf,and these veinlets enclose,between them,an elaborate network of venules.

Though the final colour of the white poplar is dark brown, there is several stages of tinting that are interesting and beautiful,such as the normal dark green contrasting , on the same or adjoining leaves,with light brown upon which a distinct hue of red is discernible. Pale green, pale brown and red, may be seen on the same leaf, and one branch may show at the same time a rich array of various shades and markings. But the colours are very transient and very difficult to preserve-when the leaves have been gathered- from merging into the final and less interesting stage of dark brown.

Poplar leaves on twig summer


Black poplar

In its general form,venation and autumn colouring  the black poplar leaves resemble very closely those of the Lombardy poplar. The general difference is the longer and more pointed apex of the leaf of the black poplar.

Aspen foliage

Courtesy of MPF.                      CC BY -SA 3.0 unported license text, images, and other content


The pretty little rounded leaf of the Aspen which has crenated margins  is veined very similarly to the above species. Its stages of colouring giving contrasts of green against golden brown,yellow and orange too, are similar to the autumn colouring stages of the Lombardy and Black poplars.However, it takes at times, like the white poplar, a final tint of dark brown.

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