Populus tremula

Aspen (Populus tremula ) in Marburg

The aspen, aspen or quaking aspen (Populus tremula ) is a plant of the genus poplar (Populus ).

In a broader sense alongside the European aspen also Grobzähnige be quaking aspen (Populus grandidentata ) and the American aspen (Populus tremuloides ) is called the aspens.


The aspen is common in West Asia, North Africa and Europe. Only from Portugal, southern Spain and Sicily no finds were discovered to date. It is considered the most widely used in Europe, in Central Europe, occurring as a common poplar. Next to her, you will find two more types: the black poplar (Populus nigra) and white poplar (Populus alba). Due to their light requirement you meet the aspen often on clearcuts.


The aspen is considered Folgeart in gorse and Schlehengesellschaften and often occurs at their locations with sallow, white birch, oak and broom on socialized.

They settled sparse forests, paths and forest edges, rocky pastures and hedges. As a pioneer tree species include fallow land and clearcuts to their regular growing sites. At the soil quality, the aspen not have high expectations. However, they preferred loose, humus-rich, fresh to moist, nutrient -and base- rich sandy loam and loess. It grows on lime-poor and lime-rich sites equally well. When full sunlight shuns to shady places stature.


Depending on the distribution area reaches the aspen tree as a plant height of usually 20, rarely to 35 meters. In our latitudes, no tree grows faster than poplars. This type reached an average age of about 100 years, and their growth is completed at age 60. The aspen is characterized by a vollholzigen, usually straight or only slightly inclined base. At a young age she has a loose and light crown. In middle age the crown developed a more conical habit. The crown of older plants is often multi-part and wide - roundish to irregularly arranged. The aspen sets primarily to a taproot and later forms strong main lateral roots from.

The bark of younger aspen is very soft and it has yellow and brown with large, diamond-shaped Korkwarzen. The bark of older trees assumes a dark gray color and forms of longitudinal cracks.

The leaf buds are yellow to dark brown. The aspen has rounded leaves with a relatively long petiole, which is flattened on the side. Therefore, the leaves have characteristic (hence the name Aspen or even the phrase " like a leaf tremble " ) move with very little wind. The fresh shoots are copper- brown and even reddish tint until the end of May; The autumn color is pure golden.

Male trees bear the thick and gray-brown kitten in very large numbers; they are in mid-March when dusts yellowish, later brown. The male catkins fall after pollination rather quickly from the tree. The female trees bear green, 4 times 0.5 cm kitten with reddish bracts and gray hair. These female kittens are white wool to mid-May and fly soon after, carried by the wind of it.

The fruits of aspen mature from mid-May in the form of slender, bivalved capsules. The seeds contained therein are small nutlets with weißwolligen hair.


At the base of the petiole is extrafloral nectaries find. As typical Lichtholzart the aspen can not rejuvenate in its own shadow. Male specimens are much more common than female. By root shoots arise in the low and medium forest operations groups of closely related strains together. In North America, they found an existing from 4700 strains plant occupied an area of ​​43 ha.

Importance as a forage crop (selection)

The trembling poplar or aspen is one of the most important food plants of our native butterflies. To live as the caterpillars of the most attractive and most vulnerable butterflies on this tree, with the greatest importance to even shrub -like young trees along paths and along forest edges. For the sake of biodiversity ( species diversity ) should be essential to avoid the deforestation of these shrubs. The following butterflies develop at the Aspen ( Aspen ).

  • Eyes Owl Moth ( Tethea ocularis )
  • Birch porcelain Spinner ( Pheosia gnoma )
  • Blue Underwing (Catocala fraxini )
  • Bleaching Gelbeule ( Xanthia icterica )
  • Dromedary - tooth Spinner ( Notodonta dromedarius)
  • Alder moth ( Acronicta alni )
  • Drake tail Raufußspinner ( Clostera curtula )
  • Large Kingfisher ( Limenitis populi )
  • Big Fox ( nymphalis polychloros )
  • Large -tailed ( Cerura vinula )
  • Great head moth ( Acronicta megacephala )
  • Ermine moth ( Cerura erminea )
  • Hornet Clearwing ( Sesia apiformis )
  • Camel tooth Spinner ( Ptilodon capucina )
  • Small oak hen ( Phyllodesma tremulifolia )
  • Small poplar hen ( Paecilocampa populi )
  • Little Purple Emperor ( Apatura ilia )
  • Fritillary butterfly ( Euphydryas maturna )
  • Moon Bird ( Phalera bucephala )
  • Night Swallowtail ( Ourapteryx sambucaria )
  • Nun moth (Lymantria monacha )
  • Olive binding tensioner ( Chloroclysta siterata )
  • Palps toothed Spinner ( Pterostoma palpina )
  • Poplar porcelain Spinner ( Pheosia tremula )
  • Poplar hawkmoth ( Laothoe populi )
  • Poplar tensioner ( Biston stratarius )
  • Poplar Spinner ( Leucoma salicis )
  • Red Underwing (Catocala nupta )
  • Around Wing Kätzcheneule ( Orthosia cerasi )
  • Schlehenspanner ( Angerona prunaria )
  • Snow Spanner ( Apocheima pilosaria )
  • Gypsy moth ( Lymantria dispar )
  • Violet Gelbeule ( Xanthia togata )
  • Zackeneule ( Scoliopteryx libatrix )
  • Zigzag Spinner ( Notodonta ziczac )


Medical and alternative medicine

The Aspen Tree contains compounds of salicylic acid. Therefore, it is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effect. For this purpose one uses the bark, leaves and the shoot tips.


Poplar wood is a very popular commodity. The wood is especially inexpensive and light plywood panels, table tennis rackets, toothpicks, matches and many other products use. Furthermore, processed it on paper and is used as biomass for energy production use.

The aspen is often planted in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe as a forest tree. It applies as an excellent pioneer plant and is used as Vorwald, Füllholz and auxiliary tree. Since the nutrient-rich leaves of aspen chaff easily decomposed, it is also appreciated for their soil-enhancing properties.



The aspen in winter




The wood of the aspen

Female kittens

Weißwollige seeds of aspen ( on a balcony )