How to Identify a Poplar Leaf

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Identify a Poplar Leaf
Identify a poplar leaf by its colour and shape. (poplar trees image by david hughes from

Several different species of poplar trees make up this deciduous tree family, with each growing quickly into large and handsome trees. Whether you focus on the balsam poplar, the white poplar or the tower poplar, each tree can provide a towering canopy over a sunny landscape. In choosing a tree variety for your landscape, consider a poplar variety to create a fast privacy barrier or windbreak. Identify a poplar leaf from one of the poplar varieties as you seek to choose a tree for your landscape.

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  1. 1

    Identify a balsam poplar leaf by its distinctive egg shape. The base of this leaf is wide and it ends in a pointed tip. The balsam poplar leaf is between 1 and 3 inches long with a dark green colour on top and a lighter green colour on the underside. The leaf edges are finely serrated.

  2. 2

    Recognise a white poplar leaf by its wider lobed shape. The white poplar leaf has three separate lobes making it faintly similar to a maple leaf. These leaves have a dark green colour on the top side and a slightly muted green shade on the underside. The leaf edges are more jaggedly serrated.

  3. 3

    Distinguish a tower poplar leaf by its more slender and smooth shape. The tower poplar leaf has gently wavy edges, lacking sharp or jagged serrations. These leaves are 4- to 5-inches long, ending in a rounded and slightly pointed tip. The tower poplar leaves turn yellow in the autumn.

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