Poplar seeds engulf north Kashmir

Poplar seeds engulf north Kashmir

Baramulla: Despite the government drive to eradicate Russian poplars from Kashmir – because of their menacing seed- many areas in northern Kashmir have been engulfed in the puffy cotton like substance shed by the tree.
As summer approaches, several areas in Baramulla, Sopore, Kunzar, Rafiabad, Sangrama, Patten, Narvaw, Kandi, Wagoora, Handwara, Kupwara and Bandipora are facing the trouble caused by the Russi Phress or Russain Poplars.
Locals said the district administrations have failed to check the population of the tree species, despite clear orders from the J&K High Court.
The flying seed from Russian Poplars in believed to cause several allergies and infections of throat, chest and nose.
The Russian poplars, contrary to their name, originate from the United States, and were introduced in Kashmir Valley in 1982. It soon became popular and outnumbered the local poplars because of its quick growth. It takes 14 years to grow to a size the local variety (Koshur Phress – Kashmiri Poplar) takes 30 to 35 years for. These poplars became a staple for local plywood industry, and allied business like boxes apple packing.
Its name is a misnomer and has nothing to do with Russia.
Ahead of the onset of summer, the female poplars shed cotton-like substance which flies in air, and is said to cause allergies and aggravate respiratory disorders. A few years back, the J&K High Court ordered the administration to cut all the Russian poplars, and ban its plantation.