Quaking Aspen

Populus tremuloides

Deciduous – it loses its leaves in the fall
Green-white, smooth and thin with elevated dark patches. The green color in the bark comes from chloroplasts, which allow the bark to photosynthesize. This allows the tree to continue to create energy when it has dropped all its leaves in the winter.  
Bright green on the top and dull green on the bottom, a rounded leaf with a pointed tip. The leaf has saw tooth edges and is 1-3 inches wide and flat. The leaf shape lends itself to quake or tremble in the slightest breeze, giving it its name. It is unknown exactly why the leaves quake, but theories include protection from the sun, increased photosynthesis, more resilient to strong winds, or more resilient to insects. Nomatter the reason, it is a beautiful and memorable occurrence while hiking in forested areas around Snowmass.
Grow 30-50 ft. but can reach heights of 80 ft. 
Grow between 7,000 and 11,000 feet of elevation. This iconic tree of Aspen grows around much of the United States and Canada and is common in Colorado. It is able to grow in many soil types and is often found in sandy or gravelly mountainside conditions. Aspen grow best with high sun exposure. The species is quick to take over landscapes that have been recently thinned by natural or human events. 
Relation to Fire
Easily killed by fire but likely the first tree to rebound after a fire due to a root system that often stays alive underground.

Fun Facts

  • A colony of Quaking Aspens are considered one organism...
    The Quaking Aspen forms “Clonal Colonies,” where the tree propagates itself through its root system, sprouting up many trees in one area. All of these trees are clones of itself, and are considered one organism. In fact, a colony of Quaking Aspens in Utah named Pando is considered to be the largest and oldest living organism, weighing 6,000,000kg and having a maximum age of 14,000 years.
  • To this day, Quaking Aspens cover the local Snowmass Village terrain.