Characteristics of American Aspen Tree (Populus tremuloides) in the Wild

Populus tremuloides
American aspen or Mountain aspen is a deciduous tree that originates in cold regions in North America. It is one of the few species of trees called Aspen.

The American aspen tree is most widely distributed in North America, found from Canada to central Mexico. It is also the species that determine the aspen garden biome in the Canadian Province of Prairie and extreme northwestern Minnesota.

Since the 1990s, North American scientists have noticed an increase in dead or dying aspen trees. As more events happened, in 2004 the debate about the causes began. Until now, no insects, diseases, or environmental conditions have been identified with certainty as to the cause.

Because of the vegetative regeneration by aspen, where the whole group of trees is a clone, there is concern that something about a person will eventually kill all trees, assuming they have the same vulnerability. A conference was held in Utah in September 2006 to share notes and consider investigative methodologies.


Characteristics of American Aspen Leaf

Populus tremuloides Leaf
Source : Orientalis Cascades

Shiny green leaves, dull at the bottom, and become bright yellow in autumn. The leaves on mature trees are 4-8 cm smaller, while those on younger trees are 10-20 cm larger.


Characteristics of American Aspen Flower

Populus tremuloides Flower
Source : Dixon

The flowers are 4-6 centimeters long, appearing in early spring before the leaves.


Characteristics of American Aspen Fruit

Populus tremuloides Fruit
Source : Lavin

The capsules are 10 cm long, each capsule contains about ten seeds embedded in cotton wool, and ripens early in the summer.

American aspen trees 2-3 years old can start seed production, but significant ones begin at the age of 10 years. The best seed production is obtained from trees aged between 50-70 years.


Characteristics of American Aspen Tree

Populus tremuloides Tree
Source : Wald

American aspen trees have erect trunks and are up to 25-35 meters high, with smooth pale skin, and full of black scars on horizontal scars.

This species often breeds through its roots to form large clone gardens that originate from a shared root system. This root is not a rhizome, because new growth develops from adventitious buds in the parent root system (orthet).


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