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Montana Field Guides

Quaking Aspen - Populus tremuloides

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 5

External Links

General Description
Tree 2–45 m with spreading branches. Bark smooth, pale, furrowed with age. Leaf blades broadly ovate to orbicular, truncate at the base, 2–8 cm long, pale beneath. Female catkins 4–10 cm long; stigmas 2. Capsules 4–6 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
Newfoundland, Labrador to southern Alaska; British Columbia through Alberta to New Jersey; Virginia, Missouri and the mountains of western United States and northern Mexico (Fowells 1965). The most widely distributed native tree in North America (Knotts, 1999).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1291

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Along streams, wetlands, topographic depressions, cool slopes where the soil is somewhat moist; plains, valleys to lower subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Bailey, A. W. and R. A. Wroe. 1974. Aspen invasion in a portion of the Alberta parklands. J. Range Management 32(1):29-32.
    • Barnes, B. V. 1966. The clonal growth of American aspens. Ecology 47(3):439-447.
    • Barnes, B. V. 1969. Natural variation and delineation of clones of Populus tremuloides and P. grandidentata in northern lower Michigan. Silvae Genetica 18:130-142.
    • Barnes, B. V. 1990. Genetic structure of trembling aspen. P. 29 .in K. Dimont, comp., Science in Glacier National Park. Glacier Natural History Assoc., West Glacier, MT. 52 pp.
    • Barnes, B. V. and W. H. Wagner, Jr. 1981. Michigan trees: a guide to the trees of Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 384 p.
    • Davis, J. D. and R. F. Evert. 1968. Seasonal development of the secondary phloem in Populus tremuloides. Botanical Gazette 129(1):1-8.
    • DeByle, N. V. 1964. Detection of functional intraclonal aspen root connections by tracers and excavation. Forest Sci. 10(4):386-396.
    • Eliasson, L. 1971. Growth regulators in Populus tremula IV Apical dominance and suckering in young plants. Physiol. Plant. 25:263-267.
    • Farmer, R. E. Jr. 1962. Aspen root sucker formation and apical dominanace. Forest Sci. 8(4):403-410.
    • Fowells, H. A, compiler. 1965. Silvics of the forest trees of the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 271. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. 762 pp.
    • French, D. 1987. Department of Forestry, University of Minnesota, 306 Stakeman Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108. Personal communication with N. Eckhardt, TNC, MRO. August 1987.
    • Graham, S. A., R. P. Harrison Jr., and C.E. Westell Jr. 1963. Aspens: phoenix trees of the Great Lakes region. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. 272 pp.
    • H., J. H. Researcher finds rare plant outside office. Petal Pusher: July/August 1995. p. 6.
    • Harniss, R. O. and D. L. Nelson. 1984. A severe epidemic of Marssonia leaf blight on quaking aspen in northern Utah. USDA Intermtn. For. Range Exp. Sta. Research Note INT-339.
    • Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
    • Maini, J. S. 1972. Silvics and ecology in Canada. Aspen: Symposium Proceedings. U. S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service General Technical Report, North Central For. Exp. Stat. NC-1:67-73.
    • Maini, J. S. and K. W. Horton. 1966. Vegetative propagation of Populus spp. I. Influence of temperature on formation and initial growth of aspen suckers. Can. J. of Botany 44: 1183-1189.
    • Maini, J.S. 1960. Invasion of grassland by Populus tremuloides in the northern great plains. (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan): University of Saskatchewan. 231 pp. Dissertation.
    • Perala, D. A. 1981. Clone expansion and competition between quaking aspen and bigtooth aspen suckers after clearcutting. U. S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service Research Report, North Central For. Exp. Stat. NC-201. 4 p.
    • Perala, D.A. 1990. Populus tremuloides Michx. quaking aspen. In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America: Volume 2, Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 555-569.
    • Rosendahl, C.O. 1970. Trees and shrubs of the upper midwest. Minneapois, Minnesota, Univ. of Minnesota Press. 411 p.
    • Sandberg, D. 1951. The regeneration of quaking aspen by root suckering. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota. 172 p. Thesis.
    • Schaedle, M. and K. C. Foote. 1971. Seasonal changes in the photosynthetic capacity of Populus tremuloides bark. Forest Sci. 17(3):308-313.
    • Schier, G. A. 1972. Apical dominance in multi-shoot cultures from aspen roots. Forest Sci. 18(20): 147-149.
    • Schier, G. A. 1973. Seasonal variation in sucker production from excised roots of Populus tremuloides and the role of endogenous auxin. Can. J. Forest Research 3:459-461.
    • Schier, G. A. 1981. Aspen regeneration. DeByle, N. V., ed. Symposium proceedings situation management of two intermountain species: aspen and coyotes. Vol. I:Aspen. Utah State Univ. p. 15-21.
    • Schier, G. A. and J. C. Zasada. 1973. Role of carbohydrate reserves in the development of root suckers in Populus tremuloides. Can. J. Forest Research 3:243-250.
    • Schier, G. A. and R. S. Johnston. 1971. Clonal variation in total nonstructural carbohydrates of trembling aspen roots in three Utah areas. Can. J. Forest Research 1:252-255.
    • Shirley, H. L. 1931. Does light burning stimulate aspen suckers? J. Forestry 29(4): 524-525.
    • Shirley, H. L. 1932. Does light burning stimulate aspen suckers? II. J. Forestry 30:419-420.
    • Tew, R. K. 1970. Root carbohydrate reserves in vegetative reproduction of aspen. Forest Sci. 16(3):318-320.
    • Weigle, W. G. and E. H. Frothingham. 1911. The aspens: their growth and management. U. S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service Bull. 93.
    • Younger, P. D., R. G. Koch, and L. A. Kapustka. 1980. Allelochemic interference by quaking aspen leaf litter on selected herbaceous species. Forest Sci. 26(3):429-434.
    • Zehngraff, P. J. 1949. Aspen as a forest crop in the lake states. J. Forestry 47:555-565.
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Quaking Aspen — Populus tremuloides.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from