Aspen, Quaking

Populus tremuloides
A small to medium sized, rather short-lived tree. The bark is whitish to yellow-green in young trees and darkens and becomes furrowed with age. The nearly round, very fine-toothed leaves are on slender, flattened stalks, accounting for their fluttering or “quaking” in a light breeze. Male and female flowers are found on different trees. The tiny flowers are in rather dense, dangling, 2-4” catkins that appear in early spring before the leaves. Male flowers are covered with fine white hair (photos 1-3). Female flowers eventually bear very small conical seed capsules with tufts of fine white hair (photos 4, 5). .

A pioneer tree after fires, logging and in abandoned fields, and is soon replaced by other trees.

Quaking aspen is differentiated from Big-tooth aspen (Populus grandidentata) by its much finer, more numerous teeth.