Populus canescens


Populus canescens,  Grey poplar 2006

Proving of Populus canescens and materia medica available to buy as a downloadable pdf file.

To purchase Populus canescens as a remedy, please contact Helios homeopathic pharmacy. Ask specifically for the Ireland 2006 proving from Dynamis

SKU: POPL Category:


It was during the first years of the new millennium that I was teaching the Dynamis programme in Birr, central Ireland. The setting was beautiful, with a charming town, the Birr Castle Demesne and the Historic Science Centre which displays many remarkable achievements in astronomy, photography, engineering and horticulture. The restored great telescope, the Leviathan of Parsonstown, can also be viewed – this was built at Birr Castle in the 1840s and was the largest in the world for 70 years. I loved to visit these places, but more than anything I liked the botanical gardens surrounding Birr Castle. Every morning before teaching I would take a stroll along the river, enjoying the thousands of species of trees and shrubs from all corners of the world.

More than any other tree, it was the grey poplar that grabbed my attention. It stood tall and proud by the riverbank, the champion, at 42 metres, the tallest of its kind in the British Isles.  It was built like a chimney stack, gigantic and straight, its top branches touching the clouds. I knew this would be our proving. This tree Populus × canescens was a natural hybrid of the native aspen and the white poplar of continental Europe and Asia, two smallish trees that got together and created a new tree that had transformed into a giant and had far outgrown its parents.

When I went to collect the proving sample, its height presented a problem. I wanted a dynamic, live and fresh sample as well as the dead bark, but the foliage was way too high to reach. So I stood below the huge tree until a rustle of wind dropped a fresh leaf into my waiting alcohol jar. This was the proving substance – one small leaf and a touch of bark representing the tallest grey poplar in Britain and Ireland.

As often happens with a new proving, after the first proving meeting, I only had a vague idea of what the remedy was capable of causing and curing. It needed to be collated and edited for homoeopaths to enjoy the fruits of our work. But alas, as the proving was not completed before the class was over and the students had scattered, so the proving of Populus canescens was fragmented and lost.  I spent many years trying to resurrect it, to no avail. The proving seemed beyond saving. I almost gave up on it. Until the tree fell.

It happened in 2014. At this time the poplar was midway through an election campaign as Ireland’s representative in the 2014 European Tree of the Year competition. A strong gust of wind blew it over, and it fell parallel to the river beside where it had stood for 200 years. So it goes with hard, tall and old trees, but it was a sad day. The proving was its last remnant, and so I set about trying to save the proving once again.

After much email badgering, we collected most of the proving reports, which were then arranged and edited by Lynn Wagner. As with all other Dynamis provings, I did the final arrangement. It was then I discovered that this proving, which had previously seemed grey and impenetrable, unveiled a remarkable story.

The theme of tall trees, leaves, birds’ nests, clouds and gorgeous nature is at once apparent. But beyond this signature lies the real story, that of an anxious, frustrated, resentful, overwhelmed, trapped, blocked and alienated individual, well on the way to total annihilation and devoid of any purpose, making the transformation into a real champion: an assertive, energetic, decisive, determined and proud person who has discovered purpose, joy and satisfaction in life and in work.

The trigger which leads to this downfall, and reverses breakdown into total transformation, the “exciting cause” and the “ailments from” of this proving, the growth spurt and the gust of wind, is the real key to this remedy. This may be discovered from a very close investigation of the proving and from clinical experience in the years to come. Camilla’s mini proving provides more hints. Read on, and discover the story of a remarkable tree, a tree that outgrew its heritage to become a champion, the story of a supple young leaf contrasted with rigid old bark, which rigidity eventually toppled our champion over.

Jeremy Sherr 2020