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Quaking Aspen   arrow

Populus tremuloides (pop’-u-lus trem-u-loy’-dez)
Family: Salicaceae, Willow

Key Steps


Quaking Aspen leafLeaf: Round, with an abrupt point at tip. Roundish teeth (20-40 pairs of fine teeth). Shiny green above, pale dull green beneath. Flat petiole, set at right angle to the blade.

Bud: Lowermost bud scales is centered directly over the leaf scar of the lateral buds. 6-7 bud scales. Buds are chestnut brown, shiny, gummy, pressed close to the stem. Not as large as cottonwood buds. Buds are clustered near the end of the branch.

Leaf Scar: Wide. U-shaped. Three bundle scars. Stipule scars not as noticeable as the ones of cottonwoods.

Stem: Grayish-green when young. White may rub off on your hand like chalk. Smooth.

Bark: Greenish-white, smooth. Large black knots where branches fell off.

Pith: Brown, solid.

Flower: On separate male or female trees. Male tassels have red stamens.

Fruit: Catkins. Seeds are tufted like cotton.

Habit: Small ornamental. Suckers profusely. 15-30 feet tall. Colorado native to foothills and montane zones.

Culture: Prefers moist conditions (but not tolerant of high irrigation) and elevations above 6,000 feet. Performs poorly in irrigated landscapes of the high plains.