Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra)

North wall of Wilson Library Map

This is a familiar windbreak trees throughout western North America, introduced from Italy in the late 18th Century. Our Lombardy poplars probably date from the time of construction of the initial segment of Wilson Library, in 1928. All upright Lombardy poplars are male, and most planted are clones. This species is also know as the Mormon tree, for its upright habit - and because early settlers in the Great Basin planted them profusely, for wood and protection from the wind. Lombardy poplar is quick-growing, handsome, and pleasingly shaped.

The largest Lombardy poplar in North America is in the Washington Park Arboretum, north Seattle. It is 142 ft. high and nearly 10 ft. in diameter. One member of our group of three trees is approaching 130 ft. in height, and may be the tallest tree on campus. Alas, its relatively narrow trunk suggests that the record is safe, at least for now.