1 Description 2 Ecology 3 Cultivation 4 Use 5 References 6 External links
Adult leaves (left); juvenile and sucker leaves (right)
It is a substantial deciduous tree growing to 40 m (131 ft)
tall by 10 m (33 ft) broad, with a trunk attaining over
1 m (3 ft) in diameter. The bark is pale greenish-grey
and smooth on young trees with dark grey diamond-shaped lenticels,
becoming dark grey and fissured on older trees. The adult leaves,
produced on branches of mature trees, are nearly round, slightly wider
than long, 2–8 cm (1–3 in) diameter, with a coarsely
toothed margin and a laterally flattened petiole 4–8 cm
(2–3 in) long. The flat petiole allows them to tremble in even
slight breezes, and is the source of its scientific name, as well
as one of its vernacular names "langues de femmes" attributed to
Gerard's 17th-century Herball. The leaves on seedlings and
fast-growing stems of suckers (root sprouts) are of a different shape,
heart-shaped to nearly triangular. They are also often much larger,
up to 20 cm (8 in) long; their petiole is also less
flattened. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins
produced in early spring before the new leaves appear; they are
dioecious, with male and female catkins on different trees. The male
catkins are patterned green and brown, 5–10 cm (2–4 in)
long when shedding pollen; the female catkins are green, 2–6 cm
(1–2 in) long at pollination, maturing in early summer to bear
10–20 (50–80) capsules each containing numerous tiny seeds
embedded in downy fluff. The fluff assists wind dispersal of the seeds
when the capsules split open at maturity.
It can be distinguished from the closely related North American
Eurasian aspen is a water and light demanding species that is able to
vigorously colonize an open area after fire, clear cutting or other
kind of damages. After an individual has been damaged or destroyed,
root suckers are produced abundantly on the shallow lateral roots.
Fast growth continues until the age of about 20 years when crown
competition increases. After that, growth speed decreases and
culminates at about 30 years of age. Aspen can reach an age of 200
It is a very hardy species and tolerates long, cold winters and short
Aspen is resistant to browsing pressure by fallow deer due to its
This species is important for the hornet moth, which uses it as a host
during the larval stage.
The aspen is found in cultivation in parks and large gardens.
The hybrid with
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Video, commentary and annotation on why Aspen leaves tremble.
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