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Quaking Aspen
Populus tremuloides

Quaking Aspen is the most abundant and widespread tree in Minnesota today and the most common Populus species in North America. The huge stands across northern Minnesota are the result of clear cutting our expansive pine forests a century ago. Fire suppression has also allowed it to expand into historical prairie habitats were subsoil moisture is adequate to sustain it through dry periods. In the winter months its bark could be confused with other Populus species but its small, shiny and hairless buds that are not coated with resin distinguishes it from other similar species. Used primarily for reforesting an area quickly due to its pioneer qualities, especially in cut-over and burned areas.

USDA symbol: POTR5

General Information

Plant TypeTree
Height40 to 100 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureDry
Bloom ColorRed, Green
Quaking Aspen (Quaking Aspen<div><em class="small">Populus tremuloides</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience8
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceFire Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsApril to May
Larval Host ofButterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedErynnis icelus, Hemileuca nevadensis, Phyllonorycter apparella

Project Planning

Project TypeRestoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils
Coefficient of Conservatism2
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadFast
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Wilkin, Winona, Wright
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands