6/28/2014

Trembling Aspen

A small grove of trembling aspen.


Trembling aspen are the most widely distributed trees in North America. They live up to their name. Even the slightest breeze makes them do their thing. They tremble.

This aspen tree has my favourite scientific designation that reflects this behaviour - Populus tremuloides.

I think the leaves are susceptible to moving and shaking because the "petiole is distally flattened at right angle to plane of blade".

That makes sense to me.



Older trees sport distinctive bark patterns like hard won woody tattoos.


Trembling aspen grow to 35 meters, but height is not their most spectacular feature. What makes these trees special is that they can form large groves through root suckers, making them clones and therefore a single, huge organism.

There is an aspen grove in Utah that has a root system estimated to be 80,000 years old, and some say that is a conservative number. While none of the trees in the grove is overly tall, the entire clone is 106 acres in size.

The Utah grove is known as Pando, or The Trembling Giant.

The grove I photographed in central British Columbia along the Crowsnest Highway is considerably smaller, but just as amazing and beautiful.

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