Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Populus tremula L.
- Family: Willow (Salicaceae)
- Flowering: March-May
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this tree are the flattened leaf stalks, the ovate
to nearly spherical leaves, and the rounded teeth that are 20-40 per leaf.
- Habitat: Edge of woods, thickets.
- Habit: Medium tree to 50 feet tall, with a trunk diameter up to 2 feet; crown rounded or occasionally spreading; bark pale yellow-green or white, becoming grayish and divided into dark scaly ridges at maturity.
- Twigs: Pale yellow-green or white, slender, smooth; leaf scars alternate, crescent-shaped, each with 3 bundle traces; buds lanceoloid, short-pointed, hairless, sticky, up to 1/3 inch long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate to nearly spherical, short-pointed at the tip, rounded at the base, up to 4 inches long, nearly as wide, with 20-40 small rounded teeth along the margins, green, smooth, and shiny on the upper surface, not shiny on the lower surface; leaf stalks flat, smooth up to 3 inches long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in drooping spikes on separate trees before the leaves unfold, the male crowded into spikes up to 4 inches long, the female crowded into spikes up to 6 inches long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Up to 60, hairy, borne on a disk.
- Pistils: Solitary, borne on a disk.
- Fruits: Capsules narrow, flask-shaped, up to 1/4 inch long, grouped into elongated clusters; seeds numerous, with cottony hairs attached.
- Notes: This tree rapidly invades burned over areas because of its vigorous root sprouts. The wood is used for pulp. Gleason and Cronquist call this species P. tremuloides.
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