BACKGROUND: Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) belong to a large protein family with over 600 members in Arabidopsis and over 1000 in rice. Among RLKs, the lectin receptor-like kinases (LecRLKs) possess a characteristic extracellular carbohydrate-binding lectin domain and play important roles in plant development and innate immunity. There are 75 and 173 LecRLKs in Arabidopsis and rice, respectively. However, little is known about LecRLKs in perennial woody plants. RESULTS: Here we report the genome-wide analysis of classification, domain architecture and expression of LecRLKs in the perennial woody model plant Populus. We found that the LecRLK family has expanded in Populus to a total of 231, including 180 G-type, 50 L-type and 1 C-type LecRLKs. Expansion of the Populus LecRLKs (PtLecRLKs) occurred partially through tandem duplication. Based on domain architecture and orientation features, we classified PtLecRLKs into eight different classes. RNA-seq-based transcriptomics analysis revealed diverse expression patterns of PtLecRLK genes among leaves, stems, roots, buds and reproductive tissues and organs. CONCLUSIONS: This study offers a comprehensive view of LecRLKs in the perennial woody model plant Populus and provides a foundation for functional characterization of this important family of receptor-like kinases.