The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Character of poplar trees

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The poplars are light-wooded, rapid-growing trees; many of them of huge size, and all with pointed, heart-shaped leaves. The tassel-like catkins, or male blossoms, of a red or brownish hue, appear early in the spring. Some of the American kinds, as the Balsam and Balm of Gilead poplars, have their buds enveloped in a fragrant gum; others, as the Silver poplar, or Abele, are remarkable for the snowy whiteness of the under side of the foliage; and the Lombardy poplar, which "Shoots up its spire, and shakes its leaves in the sun," PROCTOR. for its remarkably conical or spire-like manner of growth. The leaves of all the species, being suspended upon long and slender footstalks, are easily put in motion by the wind. This, however, is peculiarly the case with the aspen, the leaves of which may often be seen trembling in the slightest breeze, when the foliage of the surrounding trees is motionless. There is a popular legend in Scotland respecting this tree, which runs thus: "Far oft in the Highland wilds 'tis said (But truth now laughs at fancy's lore), That of this tree the cross was made, Which erst the Lord of Glory bore; And of that deed its leaves confess, E'er since, a troubled consciousness."