Herb: Aspen Poplar

Latin name: Populus tremula

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Aspen Poplar:

The bark and the leaves are mildly diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. The plant is seldom used medicinally, but is sometimes included in propriety medicines for chronic prostate and bladder disorders. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, 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 and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Vague fears of unknown origin", "Anxiety" and "Apprehension".

Description of the plant:


18 m
(59 feet)

to March

Habitat of the herb:

Found in open woodlands and scrubby heathland, usually on poorer soils where it is sometimes dominant.

Edible parts of Aspen Poplar:

Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder then added to flour and used for making bread etc. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails.

Other uses of the herb:

A very fast growing and wind resistant tree, it can be planted to provide a shelterbelt. Trees can also be planted to improve heavy clay soils in neglected woodlands. Wood - very soft, elastic, easily split, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion. It makes a high quality paper and is also used to make a very good charcoa.

Propagation of Aspen Poplar:

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 old 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 is rather difficult from cuttings. Suckers in early spring. Root cuttings in the winter.

Cultivation of the herb:

Found in open woodlands and scrubby heathland, usually on poorer soils where it is sometimes dominant.

Known hazards of Populus tremula:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.