Black Poplar

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  • Botanical: Populus nigra
  • Family: Salicaceae
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Black Poplar


Populus nigra



Known as

Schwarz Pappel, Saarbaum

Old Use

medical, culinary, industry

Parts Used



abdominal pain, antiseptic, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, bowel cleansing, bile weakness, bronchitis, colds, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, difficulty breathing, dropsy, eczema, eye inflammation, flu, gastritis, gastrointestinal, liver weakness, joint inflammation, joint pain, kidney weakness, mouth inflammation, stomach pain, sore throat, spasm, ulcers, urination, urinary infections

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, fever, infections

Muscle & Joints

arthritis, gout, muscle pain, rheumatism, osteoarthritis

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, difficulty breathing, lung weakness, throat infections, tonsillitis

Stomach & Intestinal

diarrhea, digestion, gastritis, intestinal inflammation

Skin & Hair



anti inflammatory, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, tonic


It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree, reaching 20–30 m (rarely 40 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter, though some old individuals have grown much bigger (more than 3 meters DBH for several trees in France). The leaves are diamond-shaped to triangular, 5–8 cm long and 6–8 cm broad, green on both surfaces.[2] The species is dioecious (male and female flowers on different plants), with flowers in catkins and pollination by wind. The black poplar grows in low-lying areas of moist ground.

Properties & Uses

The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odour and a bitter taste. They also contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The buds are antiscorbutic, antiseptic, balsamic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, salve, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary. They are taken internally in the treatment of bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections, stomach and kidney disorders. They should not be prescribed to patients who are sensitive to aspirin. Externally, the buds are used to treat colds, sinusitis, arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pain and dry skin conditions. They can be put in hot water and used as an inhalant to relieve congested nasal passages. The buds are harvested in the spring before they open and are dried for later use. The stem bark is anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic and tonic. The bark contains salicylates, from which the proprietary medicine aspirin is derived. It is used internally in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, lower back pains, urinary complaints, digestive and liver disorders, debility, anorexia, also to reduce fevers and relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. Externally, the bark is used to treat chilblains, haemorrhoids, infected wounds and sprains. The bark is harvested from side branches or coppiced trees and dried for later use.

Other Uses

An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day. A fast growing tree, it is often used to provide a quick screen or windbreak. The cultivar 'Italica' is commonly used for this purpose though it is not a very suitable choice because it has fragile branches and is prone to basal rots which can cause sudden collapse. The cultivar 'Plantierensis' is much more suitable. A resin obtained from the buds is made into a salve and used in home remedies. The bark is used as a cork substitute for floats etc. Wood - very soft, very light, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, easy to work, very resistant to abrasion. Used for lower quality purposes.

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



None known


Europe, southwest and central Asia, and northwest Africa


glucosids, populin and salicin

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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