The aspen is a tree that can reach heights of 20 to 30 metres. It is especially differentiated by its leaves, which tremble in the slightest breeze. It grows quickly when young and easily suckers from its roots. Its red and gold foliage is splendid in autumn. It is, in fact, a species of poplar.
The aspen. © Jordi's/Flickr, Licence Creative Common (by-nc-sa 2.0)
The aspen (Populus tremula) is a member of the Salicaceae family. It is sometimes called the "quaking aspen".
The trunk has several lateral, spaced and delicately ramified branches. Its crown is oval and narrow. Its smooth bark, sprinkled with diamond-shaped lenticels, cracks with age.
Populus tremula. © Hugo arg. GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2
Its leaves are small, alternate, rounded, crenelate with an elongated petiole, flat and very supple. Its buds are elongated, sharp and viscous. This is a dioecious species, with flowers grouped into male and female catkins on separate heads appearing in late March and in April.
This tree essentially grows in the plains, practically throughout Europe, North Asia (Russia, China, Mongolia, Caucasus) and North America. It can, however, live in the mountains, up to altitudes of 1,300 metres.
This species can live in forests, as long as there is light, which is why it prefers clearings.
Aspen wood is soft and consistent and is used to makeexcellent paper pulp.
Author: Michel Caron