Trembling aspen

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Populus tremuloides Michx.

Common name(s): trembling aspen, quaking aspen, quaking poplar

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


-Twigs slender with scattered orange lenticels

  • slightly angled with shiny buds
  • hairless, dark brown and narrow

Smooth, grayish-green bark with a whitish bloom

-Leaves are

  • alternate, heart-shaped
  • upper sides dark blue-green with underside a dull green
  • Flattened shape of petiole causes leaves to shake in the slightest breeze

-Unisexual flowers, male and female catkins of about equal size appear on different trees.

– may be confused with and hybridizes with P. grandidentata, which also occurs in wild blueberry fields; see left sidebar and Flora Novae Angliae information on Go Botany webpage


-forest edges

-meadows and fields






Haines, A., Farnsworth, E., Morrison, G., & New England Wild Flower Society. (2011). New England Wildflower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Framingham, MA: New England Wild Flower Society. p. 832.

Go Botany. “Populus Tremuloides Michx.” Populus Tremuloides (Quaking Aspen, Quaking Poplar): Go Botany, 2021,