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Reproduction of the aspen

Reproduction of the aspen

The aspen (Populus tremula, L.) is a tree of the Salicaceae family, native to Europe and Siberia.

Suitable breeding habitat –
The aspen is a deciduous plant with origins from Eastern Europe and Siberia and which grows throughout Europe, but it can also be found in some areas of North Africa.
In Italy it is present in the Alps up to a height of 1,600 m and in the Apennines up to 1,800 m; in some areas, moreover, it can also be found a few hundred meters from the sea.
Its habitat is that of mountain woods, above all humid, more rarely in the plains; the copious production of suckers, which form new trees, makes it a pioneer in the colonization of new land, so it is suitable for the consolidation of landslide slopes.

Propagation –
The aspen is a plant that frequently produces suckers that form new trees; for this reason it is a pioneer in the colonization of new lands and, especially in the Alps and in the Apennines, it is used for the consolidation of landslide slopes.
Propagation can take place by seed which must in any case be sown as soon as it ripens in spring.
Poplar seed has an extremely short life span and must be sown within a few days of ripening.
It should be sown on the surface or with a light cover of soil, possibly in seedbeds.
The young seedlings are then placed in single pots, as soon as they are manageable. The transplant in open field must be done in late summer, otherwise it is advisable to grow the seedlings in a sheltered area and transplant them in the late spring following.
Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed could be the result of a hybridization; to be sure of propagating the seed of Populus tremula, one must be sure that there are no other poplars nearby.
It can also be propagated by mature wood cuttings in the late autumn period in a sheltered seedbed. However, the rooting of these cuttings is not easy while it is much easier, which normally happens in nature, the propagation starting from the suckers, to be taken in early spring or through root cuttings in the winter period.

Ecology –
The aspen is a plant that tends to produce many suckers that go to form new trees; this property is exploited to use it as a pioneer species in the colonization of new land for the consolidation of landslide slopes.
The Populus tremula is also one of the tree species with which Tuber magnatum grows in symbiosis, with which it shares soil and climate needs.
The inside of the bark of this plant, in times of famine, was dried and pulverized and mixed with the flour and the mixture used to make bread.
Studies and research in the phytochemical field confirm an anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic action of the extracts obtained from the bark, which can be used effectively, from a pharmacological point of view. It has been discovered that the knots of the wood of this species, often discarded by the wood and paper industry, represent an excellent raw material from which to obtain polyphenols, natural antioxidants present in plants
In addition, in Bach flowers, it is used as a natural remedy to combat anxiety, apprehension and fear of the unknown, so it is useful for instilling courage and security.
The soft wood, not of great value, is used in cabinet making and for the production of paper, for packaging and matches.
Among the ancient Greeks, the aspen was a tree of the Underworld, a symbol of the lament of the dead.
In ancient Scottish folklore, Aspen was a tree linked to heroes, to whom a crown of poplar leaves gave them the power to visit the kingdoms of the Underworld and return safely.
Among the Celts, its light and easy-to-break wood was, nevertheless, the favorite for making shields. Those shields were more than mere material barriers between the warrior and his enemies; they were in fact pervaded with magical protective qualities against wounds, both physical and psychic.
In popular Christian tradition, the cross would have been built with the wood of the aspen, and for this reason the tree would tremble from the distressing memory.

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