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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonPopulus nigra
Family common name(s)willow; willows; poplar; poplars; cottonwood
Genus common name(s)populus; poplar; poplar-tree; poplar tree; popple; popple tree; popple-tree; cottonwood; cotton-wood; cotton wood; cottonwood tree; cotton tree; alamo; aspen
Species common name(s)European black poplar; black poplar; black-poplar; Lombardy black poplar; Lobardy Italian poplar; Lombardy poplar; Lombard poplar; Italian poplar; Old English poplar; house poplar; birch-leaf poplar; cat-foot poplar; cat foot poplar; black alamo; alamo negro; black pepillary; black pipple; black popillary
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxablack cottonwood, English poplar, water poplar, willow poplar are applied to multiple Populus taxa; balm-of-Gilead, balm of Gilead, devil's-fingers, devil's fingers are applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesLombardy, Italian are proper names, so upper case preferable
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcvar. italica Du Roi; var. nigra
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