Trembling Aspen

Populus tremuloides

Photo: Nancy Turner

Trembling Aspen

APPEARANCE

The leaves of the trembling aspen are round and have a triangular, pointed tip. They have a long flat stem, so the leaf ‘trembles’ in the wind. The aspen has greenish-white bark.

RANGE & HABITAT

This beautiful tree is found in the southern part of the Southern Interior ecoprovince. It is happy growing in a variety of habitats, from the borders of the grasslands to the moist open forests of the surrounding mountains. It cannot survive in wet areas like bogs, marshes, or swamps. In B.C. this plant also grows in the Central Interior, Southern Interior Mountains, Taiga Plains and Northern Boreal Mountains ecoprovinces.

LIFE CYCLE

The trembling aspen is quick growing but does not live for more than 50 years. Aspen can sprout from suckers so one plant can be exactly the same as many other trees in a grove. Some scientists think that aspen groves are only one tree that has spread with suckers, and that an aspen grove could be the largest living thing in the world.

ANIMAL USES

The trembling aspen is the favourite food of beaver, moose, elk and deer.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The inner bark was used for food (raw or roasted) and wood was also used for tent poles, fuels, and canoes. Rotten wood was used to line babies’ cradles because it was soft. The bark and roots of the tree were chewed and applied to wounds to stop bleeding.

MODERN USES

The trembling aspen is used for pulp, wafer-board, and chopsticks. Early settlers derived a water-purifying substance from the inner bark. They also boiled branches to make a cleanser for guns and traps and to remove human scent from hunters.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcadventure.com