Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Habitat.—In all soils and situations except in deep swamps, though more usual in dry uplands; sometimes springing up in great abundance in clearings or upon burnt lands. USDA Zones 1-7.

Habit.—A graceful tree, ordinarily 35-40 feet and not uncommonly 50-60 feet high; trunk 8-15 inches in diameter, tapering, surmounted by a very open, irregular head of small, spreading branches; spray sparse, consisting of short, stout, leafy rounded shoots set at a wide angle; distinguished by the slenderness of its habit, the light color of trunk and branches, the deep red of the sterile catkins in early spring, and the almost ceaseless flutter of the delicate foliage.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) - Bark

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) – Bark

Bark.—Trunk pale green, smooth, dark-blotched below the branches, becoming ash-gray and roughish in old trees; season’s shoots dark reddish-brown or green, shining; bitter.Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Winter Buds and Leaves.—Buds ⅛-¼ inch long, reddish-brown and lustrous, usually smooth, ovate, acute, often slightly incurved at apex, the upper often appressed. Leaves 1-2½ inches long, breadth usually equal to or exceeding the length, yellowish-green and ciliate when young, dark dull green above when mature, lighter beneath, glabrous on both sides, bright yellow in autumn; outline broadly ovate to orbicular, finely serrate or wavy-edged, with incurved, glandular-tipped teeth, apex rather abruptly acute or short-acuminate; base acute, truncate or slightly heart-shaped, 3-nerved; leafstalk slender, strongly flattened at right angles to the plane of the blade, bending to the slightest breath of air; stipules lanceolate, silky, soon falling.

Inflorescence.—April to May. Sterile catkins 1-3 inches long, fertile at first about the same length, gradually elongating; bracts cut into several lanceolate or linear divisions, silky-hairy; stamens about 10; anthers red: ovary short-stalked; stigmas two, 2-lobed, red.Fruit.—June. Capsules, in elongated catkins, conical; seeds numerous, white-hairy.

Horticultural Value.—Grows almost anywhere, but prefers a moist, rich loam; grows rapidly; foliage and spray thin; generally short-lived; often used as a screen for slow-growing trees. Propagated from seed or cuttings.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Range map of Populus tremuloides

Updated 7/16/2010