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I am looking for information on how to identify a poplar (Populus) tree. It is located in Dresden, Germany, next to a small stream. The city tree database lists it as Populus nigra. However, it appears different from other individuals of this species, and I have found inaccuracies in this database before, thus I do not trust it. In particular, the leaves are very large (I estimated ~15 cm) and firm.

There is an old individual (in rather bad shape) with furrowed "woven-looking" bark at the base, but turning smooth not much higher. This one is shown in the last photo below. There are several much younger individuals directly next to it, with smooth grey bark (see photo). Many of the leaves have some brown discolouration on the underside. Some of this can be seen in the photo below, although this leaf is cleaner than the rest.

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  • $\begingroup$ I can take more photos of specific parts of the tree if this will help identification. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Jun 29 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ The Pl@ntNet app does not give any results with high confidence. Its best guess is Populus trichocarpa. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Jun 29 at 8:35

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I think your conclusion of Populus nigra is correct. See for example this set of observations that only shows P. nigra and P. tremula observed in Dresden, and this set that only shows nine Populus species observed in Germany.

A good field guide, or better yet a "flora" (not sure the German translation, maybe pflanzenwelt?) of your area, or of Germany, should include a technical description of all the species expected to be found in the area.

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  • $\begingroup$ First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond. This tree is in the city though, and there is no reason to think that it is native here. Many city trees aren't. I'm aware of which poplars are common here, but the very reason this caught my eye is that it looks clearly different from them. So I don't think iNaturalist observations are very relevant. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Jul 1 at 20:30

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