It is dark and wet outside today but here is some sunshine from yesterday. These white poplars (Populus alba) are planted on the quayside by the river Seine; their branches stretch over the footpath by road above. On the way down the ramp, from the road to the waterside, you can admire the trees from branch tip to trunk base.
White poplars have a distinctive character and presence. They are less mobile than the closely related aspens, with their ever trembling leaves, but more eccentric in their branching. Some branches shoot straight upwards, some spiral round the trunk, others lean out at right angles. The upper branches are smooth and white; the bark at the base of the trunk is dark and furrowed.
No single leaf can define the species. On short twigs, or the tips of branches, the leaves are a simple, rounded shape. Those towards the base of longer shoots are deeply lobed, much like a maple. Along the way, you can find every form between the two extremes. The branch at the left edge of this picture shows the range of variations.
(Click on the photo to enlarge it and click again to zoom in).