Why a Black Poplar?

This large native tree used to flourish across the whole of England but is now rare.

The black poplar (Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia), a large native tree, used to flourish across the whole of England but is now rare. Prior to 1850 the trees were heavily involved in British industry. Naturally fire resistant and generally resilient, the timber has been found in buildings, carts and wagons, scaffolding, farm equipment and matches. Black poplar wood has also been identified in floorboards and arrows on the Mary Rose and in First World War rifle butts. The tree appears prominently in John Constable's famous 1821 painting, the Hay Wain.

The Queen has recognised the importance of this now endangered species by planting saplings on many of her estates and in the Royal Parks.  Taking up the baton the Lord –Lieutenant of London nurtured a plan to provide Black Poplars to every London borough to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

The young saplings were distributed to all the London Boroughs at a ceremony in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea last December in the presence of Sir David Attenborough. 

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