Quaking Aspen

In their “Textbook of Dendrology”, Harden, Leopold and White state: “Quaking aspen is the most widely distributed native tree species of North America and one of the most  variable. Massive and very old clones (reaching ages of 1 million years) exist,….”. My interest and fascination with this remarkable species is based on its many attributes, including: pulpwood for paper manufacturing, wildlife habitat, an ecological role as a “pioneer” species on open and disturbed land, and autumn beauty. I’ve observed elk, deer and beaver browsing on aspen; Ruffed Grouse eating the flower buds in late winter; and numerous cavity-nesting birds using dead and declining trees. I stand in awe of the brilliant yellow-gold foliage against a bluebird sky on a crisp, fall morning.

The aspens signal the end of the fall foliage season, peaking in color in Central New York a few days either side of Halloween. Here, snow as well as wind and rain, influence the intensity and duration of the show. I think most would agree that the best images of aspen in autumn are taken in the Rocky Mountain region, where the combination of large, mature stands; brilliant colors and spectacular mountain scenery is breathtaking. I can’t begin to duplicate that. In fact, I struggle to capture the full beauty of natural stands in the East that are readily accessible to me! Still a work in progress, this post features images taken recently.





Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is also called Trembling Aspen. The leaves have flattened stalks or petioles, causing them to “quake” or “tremble” in a breeze – as these were doing when the photo was taken:


A small clone of Quaking Aspen in early morning:


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

6 thoughts on “Quaking Aspen

  1. I first became familiar with the “quakies” while living in the Rockies. Since then they’ve topped my list of favorites. You did a great job of capturing their fall color and beauty. Even posing them against a backdrop of evergreens in that first shot, as they’re so often found out west.

    • Thanks Carol. I’m also enjoying the larches. I like them all, bit haven’t included the non-natives in my blog…yet. I might have to rethink that, because the really nice stands of native larch/Tamarack are in the swampy places and best photographed from a hot-air balloon or some sort of hover craft!

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