Trembling Aspen


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Tremasp1.Jpg

TREMBLING ASPEN
populus tremuloides

  • Trembling Aspen is also known as Quaking Aspen, Quivering Aspen, Quaking Asp, Golden Aspen, Mountain Aspen, Trembling Poplar, Popple
  • Some native peoples called Trembling Aspen "noisy leaf"

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • The leaves quiver or tremble at the slightest breeze
  • Trembling Aspen can sprout from root suckers
  • Trembling Aspen are quick growing but short lived (around 50 years)
  • Trembling Aspen provide food for the beaver, moose, elk and deer, nesting in rotten trunks for birds

LOCATION:

  • Trembling Aspen grow throughout BC
  • Trembling Aspen appear east of the Coast Ranges
  • Narrow band along east coast of Vancouver Island
  • Very common in the northeast corner of BC
  • Trembling Aspen likes well drained, moist soils rich in calcium

SIZE:

  • Trembling Aspen grow up to 25 metres tall

FRUIT:

  • tiny, down-covered capsules, full of seeds

FLOWERS:

  • male catkins: 2 to 3 cm long female catkins: 4 to 10 cm long female and male catkins are found on separate trees
  • appear with or before leaves

Tremasp3.Gif

Tremasp2.Jpg LEAVES:

  • round to triangular shape
  • pointed tip and edges round-tipped
  • stalk is flattened so leaf can 'tremble' or move at the slightest breeze
  • smooth, dark green with a paler underside, turns yellow in the fall

BARK:

  • smooth, greenish white turning blackish and roughened at the base when mature
  • doesn't peel
  • black scars show where branches once grew
  • often show scars of bears and other animals

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • soft, brittle, not durable

USES:

  • modern - pulp, waferboard, chopsticks, early settlers derived a quinine-like substance from the inner bark, boiled branches made a cleanser for guns, traps and to remove human scent from hunters
  • traditional - inner bark: food (raw or roasted); wood: tent poles, fuels, canoes - rotten wood was used to line babies' cradles because it was soft; bark/roots: chewed and applied to wounds to stop the bleeding

 


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Trembling Aspen