Katie Eberhart - Writing & Observations
Quaking Aspen, Populus tremuloides, is also called trembling aspen or American aspen.
In favorable conditions, it becomes a medium-sized tree 6-12 meters tall, and sometimes as high as 24 meters. The diameter of its trunk averages 7.5 to 30 centimeters with a few up to 46 centimeters. The tree typically grows very straight with hardly any branches along the lowest section of the trunk.
Twigs: are alternate (not opposite), and have a patttern of built-up leaf-scars.
Winter buds are about 6 millimeters long and pointed. They have shiny red brown scales and are not very resinous (or sticky).
In the Matanuska Valley, the Aspen flowers during the end of March and beginning of April. The flowers are gray and look like shortened, tufted willow flowers. You have to look up to see them though, because usually they are in the branches at the top of the tree.
Bark: color is somewhere between a light-gray, almost white, and a green-gray. It has thin horizontal raised dark scars and dark raised knot-shaped scars.
Economic importance: Aspen is a hardwood but is not used extensively in Alaska.