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Northern Arizona Universtiy Arboretum

Kirsten Aamodt
Phone (928) 774-3773
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Philip Patterson
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Quaking aspen

quaking aspenPopulus tremuloides

The Quaking aspen is native to northern Arizona and is considered by many to be the most widely distributed of any North American tree. They generally grow at an elevation of between 6,000 and 8,000 feet in the West. Aspens can reach 100 feet tall and 2 feet in diameter but are typically less than 60 feet, with a diameter of 12 inches. The largest recorded aspen is in Oregon and is 136 feet tall, with a circumference of 10 feet.

Aspens are prized for their beautiful fall color. The turning of the aspen leaves marks the coming of winter in the extensive stands of aspen on the San Francisco Peaks. If you are visiting the NAU Arboretum in early October, look north and you may be able to see the yellow-gold leaves at the middle elevations on the San Francisco Peaks. Thousands of local and out-of-town visitors enjoy this spectacle, each fall.

Aspens generally occur as well-defined groves in the forest. In most cases, these groves are clones of a single tree, making the trees genetically identical. Depending on your definition of what a single organism is, a large aspen grove may be one of the largest organisms on earth.

For more information on Quaking Aspen, visit the links below:

Virginia Tech Department of Forestry
Colorado State Extension


2009 Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University
South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011