Aspen Populus tremula. The Aspen is a Poplar that tolerates cold conditions. It is a smaller tree than most Poplars. It is a species that grows in cool regions across the whole of Europe and west Asia. (The American Aspen is a different species). It is more likely to be found in the north and west of Britain and is common in the Scottish Highlands. It is typically found in oak or birch woodland. It can spread by sending suckers up from its roots. Male and female flowers are on separate trees. Flowers are in the form of catkins.
Aspen tree in early June. The Aspen is not as tall as other members of the Poplar family. It grows to a maximum height of 20m. Black Poplar can grow to 30m and Lombardy Poplar to nearly 40m.
The Aspen has a more rounded leaf than other members of the Poplar family. The stalk (petiole) of the leaf is flattened allowing the leaves to flutter in a slight breeze.
Leaves turn yellow in October/November.
Male catkins photographed at the end of February. Red anthers, hidden in this photo will soon open to release pollen grains onto the wind and fertilise the flowers of female catkins on a different tree.
Fertilised female catkins in mid March. They stay on the tree until they release wooly seeds in April.
The bark is smooth with diamond shaped pits.