A broad-crowned tree which is most frequent as a female in amenity plantings along roadsides and in parks; also in windbreaks and on coastal dunes, but rarely in plantations. It suckers freely and sometimes becomes well-established, forming dense thickets. It is resistant to salt-laden winds. Lowland.
There is no certain evidence for the presence of P. alba in Britain before 1500. It is usually said to have been brought from Holland in the 16th century, and was certainly recorded from the wild by 1597. It is now much planted, sometimes as distinct cultivars.
Native of S., C. & E. Europe, eastwards to C. Asia; widely naturalised north and west of its native range.