POPLAR (Heb. צַפְצָפָה), tree. The Populus euphratica grows wild on the banks of the Jordan. Its leaves are usually broad though some are long and narrow, resembling those of the willow. In Israel the white poplar, Populus alba, is grown as an ornamental tree. It is a tall tree with a white bark, and the under-side of its leaves are silvery white. This species, which flourishes on the banks of rivers, is one of the two that Ezekiel refers to as a tree growing by the side of water (Ezek. 17:5). It is possible that the white poplar was the livneh peeled by Jacob to place in front of the sheep (Gen. 30:37; but see *Storax). When stating that it was not permitted to use the poplar for the *willow branch, one of the *Four Species, the Talmud indicates its characteristics: "The poplar has a white stem, a round leaf, and an edge serrated like a sickle" (Suk. 34a), and notes that whereas the serrations of the leaf edges of the willow are small and dense, those of the poplar are like the teeth of a saw (Maim. Yad, Lulav 7:3–4). The warning against confusing the poplar with the willow was due to the fact that their names were interchanged.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 325–7, 338–9; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'ah ha-Mikra'i (19682), 116–7. add. bibliography: J. Feliks, Ha-Tzome'aḥ, 135.
pop·lar / ˈpäplər/ • n. 1. a tall, fast-growing tree (genus Populus) of the willow family, widely grown in shelter belts and for timber and pulp. 2. (yellow poplar) another term for tulip tree.