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 buds shiny, hairless, dark brown and narrow. Smooth, grayish-green bark with a whitish bloom. Leaves 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


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.