It is widely quoted that the black poplar is rarer than the panda in China, with only 2,500 specimens surviving in Britain (of which only 400 are female). Once a staple crafted wood, even used on the Mary Rose, it is now in significant decline. Threatened by its cultivated relations and with such low numbers the chance of natural pollination are slim, they are more likely to be pollinated by cultivated varieties.
To increase the number of Black Poplars on the Island we worked with the Isle of Wight College to take cuttings of our existing tree (in Flowers Brook Ventnor), nurture these cuttings then replant them across the Island.
Did you know?
The timber has many uses as it is light, but tough, absorbs shocks and resists splintering and fire. Historic uses include wooden shields, the bottom of carts, matches and baskets. More recently it has been used for artificial limbs, shelving and toys.
According to Greek mythology the black poplar was created after Phaeton’s fatal attempt to drive Apollo’s chariot. Phaeton’s sisters made such a nuisance of themselves that the gods changed them into black poplars.