Poplar is a hardwood

Poplar wood - the wood for aspen leaves

Technical values

Measured value descriptionvalue
Bulk density0.41-0.56 g / cm³
Medium density347 kg / m³
Compressive strength30-35 N / mm²
Flexural strength55-65 N / mm²
Calorific value4.1 kWh per kg, 1,200 kWh per cubic meter

Poplar wood types and DIN designations

The poplar is common in Europe and Asia as well as in North America, and accordingly forms many varieties. In addition to the classic varieties, however, the special breeds play the most important role in wood extraction today - they grow faster and generally produce more yield than the classic varieties, such as:

  • White poplar (often used as an ornamental tree here)
  • Quivering aspen (the aspen)
  • Balsam poplar, of which the resin is best known for its pleasant scent
  • Black poplar
  • Rosary poplar

There are also numerous mixed forms and crossings between the individual varieties, but these were created naturally without human intervention (so-called hybridization).

National designation according to DINPoplar and quivering aspen
Abbreviation according to DINPA and AS
International designations according to DIN EN 13 556 and abbreviationsBalsam poplar (POBL, AM), black poplar (PONG, EU), white poplar / silver poplar (POAL, EU) trembling aspen (POTL, EU) gray poplar (POCN, EU) and the European-American hybrid form, Euro-American poplar (POER; EU), as well as one Special form (bastard) the western balsam poplar (POTR, AM)



Very broad annual rings are typical for the poplar, usually they are clearly delimited by a darker band. One can distinguish between quivering poplar and black poplar / white poplar mainly through the structure: While the quivering aspen is almost completely structureless, but has pith marks, exactly the opposite applies to black poplar / white poplar. With all types of poplar wood, the drawing is generally very fine, similar to that of willow wood


The color of all poplar species is usually in the range between whitish-gray to brownish. However, the only species can be easily differentiated on the basis of the core coloration: the quivering aspen has no core coloration, the white poplar tends to be reddish to yellowish-brown in the core and the black poplar has a greenish shimmer.


Poplar wood is quite coarse-grained, but also very wear-resistant. The wood is still very soft and only shrinks moderately. Polishing is usually problematic with poplar wood - staining, on the other hand, works very well.

Shrinkage and drying

Poplar wood hardly tears when it dries, but it can often throw. The drying is usually faster than with many harder types of wood, such as beech wood.


Poplar wood is neither weatherproof nor particularly durable. It is also not resistant to fungal and insect attack and must therefore be protected accordingly.


Poplar is occasionally used as construction timber, but only for constructions that are exposed to correspondingly low loads and do not require a high load-bearing capacity. Poplar wood is problematic outdoors, so it is mainly used for indoor use. Poplar wood is also used comparatively frequently in the packaging sector. It is classic for making wooden shoes (along with some other woods). Poplar wood is also used in the technical area (prosthesis manufacture and aircraft construction).


As a rule, you have to calculate around 900 - 1,100 EUR per m³ for sawn timber from the quivering aspen. In contrast, beech wood, the most frequently used wood in Germany, is almost a third cheaper. Wood from black and white poplar, on the other hand, is rarely found in stores. Thermal treatment then makes the price even more expensive.

Here you will find an overview of all types of wood

The wood of the quivering poplar used to be of great importance for the match industry and was used there on a very large scale.