28 MAY 1948, Page 14

A Sport Whenever I come across a book on trees

I look first at the Lombardy poplar to seek comment on a strange fact, once imparted to me by Sir Arthur Hill when Director of Kew Gardens. After special study, both botanic and historic, he had come to the conclusion`that the Lombardy was indistinguishable from the common black poplar, except in regard to the ufnight branching. He concluded that one or two black poplars had sported into this odd fastigiate habit (and I was with him when he discovered a larch that had so sported) and that all Lombardies had spread from cuttings of these few sports. In no book have I ever found any allusion to this. My latest disappointment was in a volume of the excellent, new illustrated educational encyclopaedia, Look and Learn, issued by Associated Newspapers. Is the Lombardy essentially identical with the black poplar ?