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Genus: Populus

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Malpighiales > Family: Salicaceae

About 40 species (north temperate and subtropical regions plus one East African species). No indigenous species in southern Africa but there are four naturalised species, of which two are declared Category 2 invasive plants in South Africa. There are an additional eight species and one hybrid that are cultivated in southern Africa.

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI) and Flora of Zimbabwe.

Populus alba (White poplar, Abele)

Native to central, eastern and southeastern Europe, and Asia. In southern Africa it has become naturalised from plantations in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and Lesotho. A declared Category 2 invasive plants in South Africa.


Populus deltoides (Match poplar, Cottonwood)

Native to southeastern and western USA.

Populus nigra (Black poplar)

Native to Eurasia. Includes Populus nigra 'italica' (Lombardy poplar).


Populus x canescens (Grey poplar)

A declared Category 2 invasive plants in South Africa.

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Populus balsamifera (Balsam poplar, Tacamahac)

Native to Canada and northern Asia.


Populus fremontii

Native to western USA and Mexico.


Populus grandidentata (Canadian aspen)

Native to eastern North America.


Populus lasiocarpa (Chinese poplar)

Native to China.


Populus maximowiczii (Doronoki)

Native to northeastern Asia.


Populus simonii

Native to northern China.


Populus tremuloides (American aspen)

Native to North America.


Populus yunnanensis

Native to southwestern China.


Populus x canadensis (Hybrid match poplar)



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated plants of southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.


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