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Woody > Populus > Populus tremuloides > Populus tremuloides

Populus tremuloides

Quaking Aspen, Trembling Aspen

Origin:  Native to most of North America.
            Mike's Opinion

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Generally more useful as a natural landscape plant due to the amount of pests and the dropping branches, however the leaves bring a unique beauty to the landscape since they have an intense clear yellow autumn colour.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
1 - 6
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
(-46)- 12.2
Temperature (°F)
15-25 m
20-100 cm
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
The Quaking or Trembling aspen is a North American native tree that boasts the largest native range of any tree. Reproducing through a combination of runners and seeds it is very fast growing and prefers moist soil, and full sun.
Generally used in natural landscaping. Leaves 'tremble' in the wind hence the common name.
Best grown on well drained to moist soil that is rich in calcium, however it is quite adaptable.
Lower limbs almost always die back leaving a V-shaped scar and the tree matures to a straight trunk
ID Characteristic
The Trembling Aspen is easily identified by the sound it makes and the scars left by fallen lower limbs, which this aspen is prone to losing. The petiole of the trembling aspen is almost completely flat and the leaf stalk is longer than the leaf itself, so even the slightest breeze makes this tree appear to be trembling, giving it its name. This along with the white/grey colouration of the bark and typical poplar leaves make it easy to pick out.
Aspen serpentine leafminer, poplar borer, western tent caterpillar, roundheaded and flatheaded woodborer, leafminer beetle. Elk tooth marks and bear claw marks may be present in natural environments.
Bark/Stem Description
Varies from warty, smooth, white, grey, green or all of the above and with age the lower bark becomes grey and broadly cracked.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Conical, reddish-brown; terminal bud .5 cm long, often resinous. Stem buds are commonly eaten by elk or killed by severe freezing.
Leaf Description
Simple, alternate, and heart shaped to nearly round, 2.5-7.6 cm long; dark green and shiny above, pale green underside with small rounded teeth at the margins.
Flower Description
A dioecious species producing catkins. Bracts are brown, finger-like, and surround creamy yellow flowers with black tipped stamens. Flowers in the spring before leaves emerge.
Fruit Description
Small downy capsules.
Colour Description
In autumn, foliage turns gold-yellow and occasionally red in some specimens. Generally green foliage and brown lustrous bark.
Texture Description
Smooth to coarse.
Notable Specimens
In Utah, an individual called Pando has covered 81 hectares and is estimated to be the heaviest known organism on the planet at 6600 tons.
Reproduces mainly through runners. The easiest way to propagate the plant is by taking root cuttings. Seed easily germinates.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Traditionally used for medicine by native North Americans