Black Poplar

Pioppo Nero (Fototeca ISAL, fotografia di Anna Zaffaroni)
Pioppo Nero (Fototeca ISAL, fotografia di Anna Zaffaroni)


The Black Poplar is one of the most interesting of the numerous tree species with tall trunks in the Oak Wood between the Municipalities of Seveso and Meda.
Those who wish to admire this spectacular tree species should leave the main path that connects the entrance on Redipuglia St. with the park’s tourist office, and follow a narrow dirt trail up to a wooden fence delimiting the reclamation basin of Seveso. In following this track the visitor will come across a thriving plant with a majestic, outspread crown shaped like a dome, belonging to the Salicaceae family. The alternate leaves are long rather than wide, and have a vaguely triangular shape with shiny edges and little regular teeth. These are an intense green that fades in autumn and turns to a yellow, banana hue in autumn.

The Black poplar is a dioecious tree, since the bright red male catkins and the green female ones develop on different plants. At the end of spring, the female flowers liberate soft, cotton-like, white seeds dispersed by the wind.
The bark of the Black Poplar is blackish-grey and due to this, it has always been considered in mythology as a funerary tree, sacred to Mother Earth. The plant essence is resistant to atmospheric pollution and the tree grows rapidly in highly industrialised areas.
Probably the Black Poplar, more than other plants, identifies with the essence of the Oak Wood since its resistance to atmospheric agents symbolically represents the obstinacy of the Seveso and Meda people in not renouncing the remembrance of the historical and tragic events of 1976, and in fighting to bring the disaster site to a new revival. After the intense environmental reclamation and restoration made necessary after the industrial ICMESA incident, the Region of Lombardy, in fact, acknowledged this place as a nature park which today hosts thousands of tree and shrub species, among which are oaks, Scotch pines, hawthorns, birches, hornbeams, common alders, black alders, blackthorn, rose hip, guelder rose, nut, cornels and wayfaring trees.