Trembling Aspen Populus tremuloides
Family: Salicaceae (Willow)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Quaking Aspen

Trembling Aspen, like other poplars, is a "pioneering species" and often takes over newly cleared land.  As a result, it is quite common to see pure stands of young Aspens, all a certain age.  Compared to Large-toothed Aspen, the buds are darker and more brownish-red and lack the white hair.   Young bark is usually lighter (sometimes almost white, resembling a young White Birch).  It resembles Large-toothed Aspen, though it is usually a cleaner white.  But bark along is often not enough for identification.  Leaves can be helpful when found as they are the smallest of the genus, with small teeth and flattened leafstalks.  In colour, the buds resemble Balsam Poplar most of the genus, though Trembling Aspen buds are smaller, not as resinous, and lack the spicy aroma.    

Trembling Aspen bud.  Notice the reddish-brown colour and lack of hair.

Trembling Aspen twig.  The size of the buds varies ALOT from tree to tree and stand to stand.
That is typical with most poplars.

Lateral buds and leaf scar (these lateral buds are longer and more pointed than usual)

Closeup of the dark, furrowed mature bark.  The top half of this tree is still
quite white, though from this view this could be just about any poplar!
Bark alone is usually insufficient to identify a member of the genus

A few young Trembling Aspens.  This is more typical of their young bark,
whiter than the other poplars (at times it almost looks like White Birch)

A grove of mature Trembling Aspens

A Trembling Aspen leaf still clinging to the branch

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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