Aspen is a type of deciduous tree that belongs to the willow family. There are six species of aspen that can be found in the temperate areas of the northern hemisphere. Aspen is native to the UK, however, it is more common in the North than the South. On my travels I have found two small colonies of Aspen at the Red Honiton Park & Ride in Sowton and several medium sized trees by the flood relief. Both male and female trees can be found here which is nice. Aspen is an important source of food for insects and mammals. Unlike many plant species, Aspen can survive forest fires and easily populate destroyed areas - luckily we don't have many of those!
Aspen grows in the sunny areas, on a moist, but well-drained soil. People grow aspen because of its ornamental morphology and calming effect that sound of trembling leaves. Older trees may be covered with lichen, which gives the trunk a black appearance. The bark is grey and often pitted with diamond-shaped pores, called lenticels. During the Autumn the leaves turn a deep gold colour and is a lovely sight.
The leaves are round with large, irregular, blunt teeth. The leaf stalks are flattened and flexible near the leaf blade, which is why the leaves move so freely
Aspen trees are quite shallow rooted and spread via root suckers. For these reasons they are not suitable as street trees
Aspen flowers are a treat to see - but they're only about for a few months. The male flowers are in full show around February / March and the Female flowers typically in March / April. During late April the female flowers begin to release the white fluffy seeds. They look a little like cotton wool floating around the air and can make it look like it's snowing!
The male flowers are burgandy coloured and release poll in March / April time
The leaf buds are more pointed compared to the flower buds
As nice as Aspen is, there doesn't seem to be much of it in Exeter. There are similar trees such as White Poplar or Black Poplar. One thing to note about Aspen is it's ability to spread. It sends out suckers which soon sprout into new Aspen trees. In fact the largest organism in the world has been classed as a colony of Aspen in Utah, USA. It is a colony of only male Aspen trees covering around 106 acres. Basically it is a forest of Aspen. It weighs around 6,600 tonnes and is though to be over 80,000 years old. Sadly reports suggest that Pando (this is the name for it) is dying for unknown reasons. Details of Pando can be found here.
The canopy is quite open and on a windy day is stunning
The bark is grey and as the tree matures will form diamon shaped lenticles
The bark of Aspen is very pretty and is similair to that of White poplar. It is pale grey in colour and as the tree matures will form diamond shaped lenticles. The leaf buds of Aspen are quity pointed whereas the flower buds are more rounded. The male flower buds are larger than the female flower buds. The buds are arranged Alternately and are a reddish / brown colour.