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Medical disclaimer: always check with a physician before consuming wild plants, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.  Michael Moore also has a glossary of medical terms in his books, and maps in later editions. ) 
#162 (part 1)
Common Name: Cottonwood, Alamo, Aspen, Poplar, Quaking Aspen
Latin Name:
Populus alba, P. angustifolia, P. balsamifera, P. deltoides, P. fremontii, P. grandidentata, P. heterophylla, P. nigra, P. tremuloides
Family: Salicacea
Range:
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POPUL
All of North America, this is the main database for USDA.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POAL7 All of the lower 48 states, except Arizona; In Canada; British Columbia, Manitoba to Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. (Populus alba)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POAN3 All states west of the Rocky Mountains, except Washington, plus South Dakota, Nebraska and Texas; In Canada; Alberta and Saskatchewan. (Populus angustifolia)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POBA2 Alaska, all states west of the Rocky Mountains, except Arizona and New Mexico, plus N. and S. Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, all states north of the Ohio R., Virginia, W. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York north to Maine; All of Canada. (Populus balsamifera)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PODE3 All states east of the Mississippi, all states west to the Rocky Mountains, plus Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah; In Canada; British Columbia to Quebec. (Populus deltoides)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POFR2 California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (Populus fremontii)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POGR4 All states north of the Ohio R., all states north of Pennsylvania/New Jersey, plus Kentucky, Tennessee, W. Virginia, Virginia, N. Carolina, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and N. Dakota; In Canada; British Columbia, Manitoba to Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. (Populus grandidentata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POHE4 All states east of the Mississippi R. except W. Virginia, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, plus Missouri to Louisiana; In Canada; Ontario. (Populus heterophylla)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PONI All of the lower 48 states, except Montana and Idaho; In Canada; British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. (Populus nigra)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=POTR5 All states in North America, except Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana to S. Carolina; In Canada; all except Nunavut. (Populus tremuloides)
Photos : (Click on Latin name after common name )
Warnings: None on Plants For A Future, except Populus temuloides.
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#162 (a)
Common Name: White Poplar (Populus alba)
Appearance and Habitat:
Distributed on both sides of the Cascades in Washington; widely distributed throughout North America. Habitat: Disturbed areas often associated with urban and suburban areas, riparian zones. A perennial that was introduced.
(1)  Woods and watersides in C. Europe to Asia. Ferequently planted in Britian but not naturalized. A deciduous tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in March. (2)
Edible Uses: Leaves – rich in Vitamin C. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and added to flour for making bread. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails (3)
Medicinal Uses :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. The leaves are used in the treatment of caries of teeth and bones. The twigs are depurative.
(4)
Foot Notes: (1)http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php?Genus=Populus&Species=alba

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+alba

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#162 (b)
Common Name: Narrow Leaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)

Appearance and Habitat: Narrow-leaf cottonwood is a small, deciduous tree, growing 45-60ft, with rather narrow crown and slender twigs. Bark is less deeply furrowed than the broad-leaved cottonwoods. Toothed, yellow-green leaves are narrow and willow-like. Tree with narrow, conical crown of slender, upright branches and with resinous, balsam-scented buds. Discovered in 1805 by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Northwest, this is the common cottonwood of the northern Rocky Mountains. It is easily distinguishable from related species by the narrow, short-stalked, willowlike leaves. Its root system makes it suitable for erosion control.(1)Streambanks in dry mountains, foothills and dry plains in western N. America – Alberta to Mexico. A deciduous tree growing to 30 m (98ft 5in) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 3.(2)
Edible Uses:Inner bark 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. A ‘honeydew’, produced on the undersides of leaves by aphis, was collected by various native North American Indian tribes and used as a sweetener. The buds have been used as a chewing gum.(3)
Medicinal Uses :A tea made from the inner bark is used in the treatment of scurvy. The bark contains 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 woolly fruit is moistened and applied to the gums in order to treat infections. A tea made from the fruits is used in the treatment of toothache.(4)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POAN3
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+angustifolia
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#162 (c)
Common Name: Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera)
Appearance and Habitat:
A 20-60 ft tree with dark gray, furrowed bark. Trunk is straight and branches are erect and stout. Dark green leaves are shiny on top; silvery or brown underneath. Catkins appear before the leaves emerge. Cottony seeds are blown about by the wind. Large tree with narrow, open crown of upright branches and fragrant, resinous buds with strong balsam odor. The northernmost New World hardwood, Balsam Poplar extends in scattered groves to Alaskas Arctic Slope. Black Cottonwood, once considered a separate species (P. trichocarpa), is now considered a subspecies of Balsam Poplar. It occupies the more southerly portions of the species range in the West. Balm-of-Gilead Poplar, an ornamental with broad, open crown and larger, heart-shaped leaves, is a clone or hybrid of Balsam Poplar. Balm-of-Gilead, derived from the resinous buds, has been used in home remedies.
(1)  Deep moist sandy soils of river bottomlands, stream banks, borders of lakes and swamps in northern N. America – Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New England, Iowa and Colorado. A deciduous tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 2.(2)
Edible Uses:Inner bark. It is best used in spring. Mucilaginous. 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. Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour.
(3)
Medicinal Uses :Balsam poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat skin problems and lung ailments. In modern herbalism it is valued as an expectorant and antiseptic tonic. The leaf buds are antiscorbutic, antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, tonic. The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odour and a bitter taste.They are boiled in order to separate the resin and the resin is then dissolved in alcohol. The resin is a folk remedy, used as a salve and wash for sores, rheumatism, wounds etc. It is made into a tea and used as a wash for sprains, inflammation, muscle pains etc. Internally, the tea is used in the treatment of lung ailments and coughs. The buds can also be put in hot water and used as an inhalant to relieve congested nasal passages. The bark is cathartic and tonic. 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. A tea made from the inner bark is used as an eye wash and in the treatment of scurvy.
(4)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POBA2

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+balsamifera
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#162 (d)
Common Name: Eastern Cottonwood, Necklace Poplar (Populus deltoides)
Appearance and Habitat:
Eastern cottonwood is a large-canopied tree with upright limbs becoming arching at the tips creating a vase-shape outline. The deciduous tree grows to100 ft. or more with stout branches. Catkins appear before leaf emergence. Large, papery, toothed triangular, medium-green leaves turn yellow in fall. Large tree with a massive trunk often forked into stout branches, and broad, open crown of spreading and slightly drooping branches. Pendulous clusters of flowers without petals in late March and early April. Seeds wind-borne on a tuft of cottony hairs. The common name refers to the abundant cottony seeds; another name, Necklace Poplar, alludes to the resemblance of the long, narrow line of seed capsules to a string of beads. Although short-lived, it is one of the fastest-growing native trees; on favorable sites in the Mississippi Valley, trees average 5 (1.5 m) in height growth annually with as much as 13 (4 m) the first year. Plains Cottonwood (ssp. monilifera [Ait.] Eckenwalder or var. occidentalis Rydb.), a western subspecies or variety, has slightly smaller leaves that are often broader than long and more coarsely toothed.
(1)  Rich moist spoils, mainly along riverbanks, bottoms and rich woods. N. America – Quebec to Florida, west to Minnesota and Texas. A deciduous tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen from May to June.(2)
Edible Uses:Inner bark. A mucilaginous texture, it is usually harvested in the spring. 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. Seeds. No more details are given but they are very small and would be exceedingly fiddly to collect and use. Sap – used for food. Buds. No more details are given. The leaves are rich in protein and have a greater amino-acid content than wheat, corn, rice and barley. A concentrate made from them is as nourishing as meat, but can be produced faster and more cheaply. Some people believe that this will become a major food source for humans.
(3)
Medicinal Uses :The bark contains 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. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of whooping cough and tuberculosis. A decoction of the bark has been used to rid the body of intestinal worms. The bark has been eaten as a treatment for colds. A tea made from the inner bark is used in the treatment of scurvy. The inner bark, combined with black haw bark (Crataegus douglasii) and wild plum bark (Prunus spp) has been used as a female tonic. A poultice of the leaves has been used as a treatment for rheumatism, bruises, sores and boils.
(4)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PODE3

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+deltoides
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#162 (e)
Common Name: Fremont Cottonwood, Western Cottonwood, Gila Cottonwood, Alamo (Populus fremontii)
Appearance and Habitat:
A fast-growing riparian tree, Fremonts Cottonwood has been known to grow 30ft in one year. It ultimate height is up to 90 ft. Tree with broad, flattened, open crown of large, widely spreading branches. The crown is broad and open with stout branches. Bark is whitish and roughly cracked. The triangular, deciduous leaves are bright green turning yellow in fall. This species, including varieties, is the common cottonwood at low altitudes along the Rio Grande and Colorado River and in the rest of the Southwest, as well as in California. Fremont Cottonwood grows only on wet soil and is an indicator of permanent water and shade. Easily propagated from cuttings, it is extensively planted in its range along irrigation ditches, and although it grows rapidly, it is short-lived. To this day, Hopi Indians of the Southwest carve cottonwood roots into kachina dolls, the representations of supernatural beings, that have become valuable collectors items. Horses gnaw the sweetish bark of this species; beavers also feed on the bark and build dams with the branches. Greenish clumps of parasitic mistletoes are often scattered on the branches. Fremont Cottonwood is named for its discoverer, General John Charles Fremont (1813-90), politician, soldier, and explorer.
(1)Banks of streams and other moist places in south-western N. America – California to Texas. It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen in April.(2)
Edible Uses:Catkins – raw or cooked. Eaten as a snack. The young green seedpods have been chewed as a gum. Inner bark. 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.
(3)
Medicinal Uses :The inner bark was consumed by various native North American Indian tribes in order to prevent scurvy. 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. An infusion of the bark and leaves has been used to wet a cloth which is then tied around the head as a treatment for headaches. The infusion has also been used as a wash on cuts, bruises, wounds and insect stings. A poultice of the boiled bark and leaves has been used to treat swellings caused by muscle strain.
(4)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POFR2

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+fremontii

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#162 (f)
Common Name: Canadian Aspen, Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)
Appearance and Habitat:
Big-tooth aspen is a columnar tree 50-75ft. tall. Toothed leaves are cottony white on the lower surface, especially when the tree is young. The slender trunk’s whitish bark, becomes furrowed at base and darker gray with age. Silvery catkins appear before leaves. Deciduous foliage becomes golden-yellow in fall. Easily distinguishable from Quaking Aspen by the large curved teeth of leaf edges, mentioned in both common and scientific names. Like that species, Bigtooth Aspen is a pioneer tree after fires and logging and on abandoned fields, short-lived and replaced by conifers. The foliage, twig buds, and bark are consumed by wildlife.
(1)  Rich moist sandy soils near streams and the borders of swamps from sea level to 900 meters in north-eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to North Carolina. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen in April.(2)
Edible Uses: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.
(3)
Medicinal Uses :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.(4)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POGR4
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+grandidentata
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#162 (g)
Common Name: Black Cottonwood, Swamp Cottonwood, Swamp Poplar (Populus heterophylla)
Appearance and Habitat:
Most recently discovered Canadian tree (April 2003). Found in Bickford Woods south of Sarnia, Ont.
(1)Found mainly on heavy waterlogged clay soils on the edges of swamps and bottom lands in eastern N. America – Connecticut to Goergia, west to Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana and Arkansas.(2)
Edible Uses:None
(3)
Medicinal Uses :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.
(4)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POHE4

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+heterophylla
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#162 (h)
Common Name: Black Poplar, Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)
Appearance and Habitat:
Moist ground in woods and by streams in central and southern Europe, including Britain, Mediterranean temperate Asia to the Himalayas. A deciduous tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in June.
Edible Uses: Inner bark – dried, ground then added to flour and used for making bread etc. A famine food, used when all else fails.
Medicinal 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.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+nigra
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#162 (i)
Common Name: Quaking Aspen, American Aspen, (Populus tremuloides)
Native American Name: Sinnabe(Shoshone)
(1)
Appearance and Habitat:
A 35-50 ft. deciduous tree, quaking aspen is pyramidal when young, usually developing a long trunk and narrow, rounded crown at maturity. Its small, nearly round, shiny leaves have a flattened petiole which allows them to quiver in the slightest breeze. Smooth, whitish-green bark becomes furrowed at the trunk’s base with age. Silvery catkins appear before leaves. Fall color is bright yellow. The names refer to the leaves, which in the slightest breeze tremble on their flattened leafstalks. The soft smooth bark is sometimes marked by bear claws. A pioneer tree after fires and logging and on abandoned fields, it is short-lived and replaced by conifers. Sometimes planted as an ornamental. Principal uses of the wood include pulpwood, boxes, furniture parts, matches, excelsior, and particle-board. The twigs and foliage are browsed by deer, elk, and moose, also by sheep and goats. Beavers, rabbits, and other mammals eat the bark, foliage, and buds, and grouse and quail feed on the winter buds.
(2)  A pioneer species of old fields logged or burnt land, it is found in a range of soils from shallow, rocky or clay soils to rich sandy ones. It grows best in rich porous soils with plenty of lime. N. America – Alaska to Newfoundland, south to Mexico.(3)
Warnings: Possible toxic effects due to salicylates (e.g. heartburn, tinnitus). Avoid with ulcers, stomach or peptic ulcers.
(4)
Edible Uses:Inner bark – raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a flour. This is normally mixed with other flours for making bread etc and can also be used as a thickener in soups. It is best used in the spring. Sap – can be tapped and used as a drink. It has also been used as a flavouring with wild strawberries. Catkins – raw or cooked. Bitter.
(5)  The inner bark of cottonwoods and aspens was used for man and horses in hard times. Some Indians preferred it because of its sweetness.(6)
Medicinal Uses :American aspen has a long history of herbal use. It was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its antiseptic and analgesic qualities, using it in the treatment of wounds, skin complaints and respiratory disorders. It is used for the same purposes in modern herbalism. The stem bark is anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, nervine and stimulant. 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. An infusion of the inner bark is considered to be a remedy for coughs and an appetite stimulant, it is also used in the treatment of stomach pains, urinary ailments, VD, worms, colds and fevers. The root is poulticed and applied to cuts and wounds. A tea from the root bark is used as a treatment for excessive menstrual bleeding. The leaf buds are used as a salve for colds, coughs and irritated nostrils. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Populus tremuloides American Aspen for haemorrhoids, wounds & burns.
(7)
Foot Notes: (1, 6) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Van Murphy, page 17, Publisher: Meyerbooks, Copyright 1990, ISBN 0-96638-15-4
Foot Notes: (2) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=POTR5

Foot Notes: ( 3, 4, 5, 7 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+tremuloides

Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
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