Black poplar Populus nigra (subspecies betulifolia) is a tree native to Britain and well-adapted to our floodplains. The species is widespread across the country but never common.

Black poplars often lean, and when in leaf their characteristic diamond-shaped leaves (cuneate leaf-bases) also help in identification. Female trees are very rare and so many trees in our landscape are clonal in origin. Due to conservation efforts to increase the number of trees, when at one time there were thought to be only 7000 left in the country, the species has been planted widely across the country.

I found a group of eight mature black poplars near Wallingford in Oxfordshire. The dramatic clouds added a dynamic touch to the composition of the photo and the low angle of the sun added tone and texture. To avoid lens flare I placed the camera, mounted on a tripod, precisely so that the sun was hidden partially behind the stem of the nearest tree.

Black Poplar trees
Black Poplar trees near Wallingford in Oxfordshire

Photograph: Lumix GF2, 7mm (14mm in 35mm equivalent), f11, 1/200sec, ISO100. Tripod.

Gabriel Hemery

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