Populus tremula – better known as the Aspen flower – is a species from the poplar genus, and is native to cool, mild areas of Asia and Europe. The Aspen flower blossoms from a deciduous tree which bears wide, rounded, toothy leaves and catkin flowers that are similar to those found on pussy willow trees. These plants are dioecious – having separate male and female variations. The male plant produces thick, grayish brown catkins that eventually turn yellow when they begin to shed pollen. The female types produce a slightly more colorful variation, with green catkins that develop reddish brown bracts and a gray fuzz that becomes white and wooly in the middle of May.
The Aspen flower is considered very valuable as a medicinal plant. Food grade flower essences are often created by plant extracts to help calm the nerves of those who are experiencing apprehension and anxiety. This essence – which is administered in small doses mixed with water – is often given to small children who are prone to nightmares. In addition to being taken internally, many people use this extract in acupuncture therapy – where it is commonly placed at the “equilibrium middle,” or on the crease just behind the knee. Scientific research has also been done to try to prove the use of populus tremula as an anti-inflammatory. In one such study, aspen flowers were combined with solidago virgaurea and fraxinus excelsior, and placed on the paws of rats with edema and arthritis. The herbal solution reduced the swelling and size of the rat’s paws, and the results were said to be comparable to those of a leading prescription drug. The use of Aspen flower essence also appears in aromatherapy. It is said that if a person with a feeling of fear or anxiousness inhales the scent of this flower while meditating, their psyche will then be calmed, and internal harmony will be restored.
Although the Aspen flower does not contain a good deal of direct symbolism, it is not hard to associate this blossom with calm, peace and protection. Despite the fact that these flowers are quite unusual in appearance, they would almost certainly make a great gift to express the desire to alleviate the stress that the recipient may be feeling at the time. They may also represent a desire to shield the recipient, or give them harmony in their daily lives. Though they may be given on their own, these strange looking blossoms are best presented alongside other, brighter flowers that further express these emotions.