Big Tooth Aspen

Quaking aspen leaf next to big-tooth aspen leaf
Anthony Brown/USFWS

As you walk through this portion of the trail, notice the stand of big-tooth aspen trees. There are two kinds of aspen found at Seney Refuge, quaking and big-tooth. Can you guess which leaf belongs to each tree? If you guessed that the quaking aspen was on the left and big-tooth was on the right you were correct. The big-tooth aspen has large "teeth" along the edge of the leaf while quaking aspen gets its name for the way the leaves rustle in the wind. Aspen provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including hare, moose, black bear, deer, ruffed grouse, migratory birds, and many other smaller animals. Being a very shade intolerant tree, aspen love to reclaim disturbed lands. Aspens are one of the most widely distributed trees in North America, growing in many diverse environments, regions, and communities. Aspens reproduce through flower clusters called catkins and through root sprouting. Aspens can make genetically identical copies of themselves, creating new trees that shoot up from the roots. Most likely all of the aspens you see in this area are actually one tree connected by the roots underground. The most famous aspen clone is a quaking aspen in Fishlake National Forest in Utah. It is a grove of 47,000 genetically identical trees spanning over 100 acres. Nicknamed "Pando", this grove is all one single organism dated to be about 80,000 years old!