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.

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QAspen4Nov13#0432Ec5x7

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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:

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A small clone of Quaking Aspen in early morning:

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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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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