The laurel poplar with its irregular and attractively twisted crown grows on the river banks of the central Asian forests and steppes. The lower branches are weeping; the upper ones stand out pale in colour. The twisting trunk has a pale grey bark, turning light brown with age. The young upper shoots are slender, angular and distinctly hairy. The angles are visible even after thickness increases as vertical stripes or ridges in the trunk, which helps with identification. The name is a reference to the narrow leathery folded-edged leaves of the trunk side-shoots. The short shoots of the branches have broader leaves.
This species can still be found in parks as relicts from the time of Finnish autonomy under the Russian Czars (pre-1917). Winter and disease hardiness, together with the picturesque crown, would justify increased use of the laurel poplar in modern plantings. The species produces some root suckers but not enough to cause a problem with cut lawns. Only male clones are produced so anyone planting the tree need not fear masses of seed wool. In spring, the red stamens of the catkins are eye-catching.