Herb: Canadian Aspen

Latin name: Populus grandidentata

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Canadian Aspen:

The bark of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge and tonic. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. An infusion of the bark has been used to ease and lessen menstrual flow.

Description of the plant:


20 m
(66 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Rich moist sandy soils near streams and the borders of swamps from sea level to 900 metres.

Edible parts of Canadian Aspen:

Inner bark - boiled. There are no more details but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread.

Other uses of the herb:

An excellent pioneer species, establishing well and growing quickly. It provides good growing conditions for other woodland trees. Since this species is intolerant of shade, it will eventually be out-competed by the other trees. Wood - soft, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion. It weighs 29lb per cubic foot. Used mainly for pulp, it makes a high quality paper.

Propagation of Canadian Aspen:

Seed - must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed. This species does not root readily from cuttings. Suckers in early spring. Layering in spring. Root cuttings in the winter

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich moist sandy soils near streams and the borders of swamps from sea level to 900 metres.

Known hazards of Populus grandidentata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.