Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Narrowleaf Cottonwood
Populus angustifolia
Salicaceae

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[172].

The young shoots are used in making baskets[227, 257].

The highly developed root system helps to reduce erosion when trees are planted on banks and slopes[226].

Wood – weak, soft, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion[11, 227]. It weighs 24lb per cubic foot[235]. The tree’s scarcity and small size make it commercially unimportant, though it is sometimes used locally for fence posts and fuel[227, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    A tea made from the inner bark is used in the treatment of scurvy[161].

    The bark contains salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body[213, 226, 238]. 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[238].

    The woolly fruit is moistened and applied to the gums in order to treat infections[226].

    A tea made from the fruits is used in the treatment of toothache[226].

  • Edible Use

    Inner bark[105, 161, 177] 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[227].

    The buds have been used as a chewing gum[257].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring[113]. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening[200]. 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[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 20 – 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy. Suckers in early spring[78].
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil[1]. Prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain[11, 200]. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils[11]. It does not do well in exposed upland sites[11]. Dislikes shade, it is intolerant of root or branch competition[200]. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild[229]. The young leaves and expanding buds emit a pleasant distinctive fragrance in the spring[226]. Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building’s foundations by drying out the soil[11]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200].
Western N. America – Alberta to Mexico.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.