Aspen (Populus tremula)

Aspen (Populus tremula), is a species of poplar native to cool temperate regions of Europe and Asia, from the British Isles east to Kamchatka in far eastern Russia.

  • Aspen Tree  -  Populus Tremula  -  Yellow Autumn Leaves
  • Aspen Tree  -  Populus Tremula  -  Leaves
  • Aspen Tree  -  Populus Tremula  -  Bark
  • Aspen Populus_tremula Winter Stems And Buds IMG_4206

Useful info about Aspen trees

Latin NamePopulus tremula
TypeDeciduous (loses its leaves in winter)
HeightCan grow up to 15 metres (50 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 10 - 15 metres (35 - 50 feet)
Soil Types PreferredChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Locations SuitableBalconies, Farmland, Gardens, Parks, Patios

Similar Species


It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 10–15 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m 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 diameter, with a coarsely toothed margin and a laterally flattened petiole 4–8 cm long. The flat petiole allows them to tremble in even slight breezes, and is the source of its scientific name.

The leaves on seedlings and fast-growing stems of root sprouts are very different, heart-shaped to nearly triangular, and often much larger, up to 20 cm 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 long when shedding pollen; the female catkins are green, 2–4 cm long at pollination, maturing in early summer to bear 10–20 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 Populus tremuloides by the leaves being more coarsely toothed.

It is a very hardy species and tolerates long, cold winters and short summers.

Like other aspens, it spreads extensively by root sprouts, which may be produced up to 40 m from the parent tree, forming extensive clonal colonies.

The hybrid with Populus alba (White Poplar), known as Grey Poplar Populus × canescens, is widely found in Europe and central Asia.

Hybrids with several other aspens have also been bred at forestry research institutes in order to find trees with greater timber production and disease resistance (e.g. P. tremula × P. tremuloides, bred in Denmark).

Aspen is resistant to browsing pressure by fallow deer due to its unpleasant taste.


Aspen wood is soft, light yet relatively strong and has been used to make paddles and oars.

Many native North American Indian tribes valued it for its antiseptic and analgesic qualities and they would use it in the treatment of wounds, skin complaints and respiratory disorders.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

Aspen trees are believed to represent focus, clarity of purpose, purity, awareness, strength, vision, determination, victory.

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