Timberpedia - Aspen

Aspen (Trembling Poplar)

Latin Name:Irish Name:Native to Ireland?
Populus tremula Crann CreathachYes

About the Tree

Aspen derives its name from its leaves, which tremble in the lightest of breezes. Folklore has it
that the tree trembles because its cursed as the tree on which Christ was crucified, but as aspens
do not occur in Palestine, this legend is flawed.

The wide sapwood is whitish soft, but strong, and with very low flammability. The grain is typically
straight. A deciduous tree of the poplar family. It is a very hardy species and tolerates long, cold
winters and short summers. Trembling Aspen can sprout from root suckers and are quick growing
but short lived (around 50 years).

About the Wood

In Ancient times the timber was used to build houses for the poor who could not afford to use oak.
The wood is soft but it lasts when kept dry. The bark was used for tanning leather, for turning
objects made on a lathe and for making barrels. The charcoal made from aspen was considered
best for the making of gunpowder. It has always been used for making clogs but Henry 5th
protected it against it being used for this purpose as it was so good for making arrows.

The wood has a number of uses, notably for making matches, where its low flammability makes it
safer to use (easy to blow out) than most other woods. It is also good for producing lightweight
boxes for fruit and vegetables and for veneer and plywood. Heat treated aspen is a popular
material for the interiors of a sauna. It is also popular for making chess boards.

Shredded aspen wood is also used as animal bedding, as it lacks the phenols associated with pine
and juniper, which are thought to cause respiratory ailments in some animals.

Arctic-Norway-aspen-Ofotfjord Populus tremula growing well north of the Arctic Circle in Norway; April 2008.
PopulusTremula001 Aspen leaves
Aspen-leaves Aspen leaves
About the TimberPedia

Know your wood! The Timberpedia is a broad resource that aims to catalogue all the major tree species in Ireland, containing information that we’ve gathered from over two decades maintaining our natural woodland and serving Ireland’s woodworking industry.

All written material is copyright © 2021 by the Lisnavagh Timber Project.