Quaking Aspen

Scientific Name:

Populus tremuloides

Type:

Tree

Habitat:

Quaking aspens are commonly found near water sources or moist soil at higher elevations

Range:

Throughout North America

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Quaking aspens are medium-sized, deciduous trees that usually grow between 20 and 80 feet tall. These trees have light-gray bark when young that becomes darker as the trees grow older. Their leaves are orb-like with small serrated edges that come to a point at the tip. Quaking aspens are "dioecious" (latin for two house), meaning the male and female reproductive structures exist on separate plants. The female catkins (cylindrical flower clusters) produce long structures that house small fruit that split open and release a cotton-like seed. The male catkins produce cone-like structures that release pollen.

Fast Facts:

  • Quaking aspens grow in clones that are connected by a single root system with a common parent. The leaves of all clones within the same system will both turn color and fall off together.

  • Quaking aspens get their name from the rustling sounds their leaves make when the wind blows.

  • There is a male quaking aspen clonal system in the Wasatch Mountains of southern Utah that occupies 17.2 acres and has approx. 47,000 stems. Named Pando, this quaking aspen system is one of the largest and oldest known organisms in the world.

  • Sometimes, the bark of quaking aspens has a green-like tinge due to the presence of chlorophyll.

  • In the Paiute language, quaking aspens are known as Padagwetseadu.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Brianna Raggio (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 12, 2021, 10:21:34 PM