Aspen

Aspen, deciduous, hardwood tree in genus Populus of Willow family. Trembling (quaking) aspen (P. tremuloides) and largetooth aspen (P. grandidentata) are native to Canada.

Aspen Trees
Forest of tall white aspen trees in Banff National park.
Quaking Aspen
Quaking aspen is the most widespread tree in North America. Shown with female flowers (left) and male flowers (right) (artwork by Claire Tremblay).
Aspen Parkland
In Western Canada, mixed woods grade into the grasslands through a belt of aspen parkland (photo by Tim Fitzharris).\n
Aspen Parkland
The terrain around Ramsey Lakes, Manitoba is typical of aspen parkland, depicting samphire along the rocky shore, fescue grassland and aspen woodland. The region is part of the largest remaining block of aspen parkland left in the world. Most of the original parkland has been converted to cropland (photo by Cleve Wershler, courtesy Cottonwood Consultants Ltd.).

Aspen, deciduous, hardwood tree in genus Populus of Willow family. Trembling (quaking) aspen (P. tremuloides) and largetooth aspen (P. grandidentata) are native to Canada; the former, found from the treeline to northern Mexico, is the most widely distributed tree in North America. Trembling aspen grows on most soils, doing best on well-drained, moist, sandy or gravelly loams. It is shade-intolerant and short-lived (about 60 years). A "pioneer" tree, it colonizes areas disturbed by logging or fire, propagating by root suckers rather than seeds. It also acts as "nurse tree" to softwood or hardwood forest taking over a site. On the Prairies, it may be the only tree.

Leaves are nearly circular, with a short tip; the flattened stalk makes them tremble in the wind. Twigs are slender, shiny and brownish grey, the bark smooth, waxy and pale green to chalky white in colour. Trees reach 12-18 m in height. Open grown specimens have a profusely branched, globular crown; forest trees have long, cylindrical trunks with short, rounded crowns.


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