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The classic and trusted book “Fifty Common Trees of Indiana” by T.E. Shaw was published in 1956 as a user-friendly guide to local species.  Nearly 70 years later, the publication has been updated through a joint effort by the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Indiana 4-H, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and reintroduced as “An Introduction to Trees of Indiana.”

The full publication is available for download for $7 in the Purdue Extension Education Store. The field guide helps identify common Indiana woodlot trees.

Large Tooth Aspen line drawingEach week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species, will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available.

This week, we introduce the quaking aspen or populus tremuloides.

The quaking aspen, also known as the trembling aspen, is adaptable to a variety of soils, ranging from moist loamy sands and clay, but it is shade intolerant. It is often found on the edge of woodlands or where the site has been disturbed, giving it access to full sunlight.

This species is identifiable by its whitish to grayish bark with dark spots where the branches come out of the trunk. It has small rounded leaves with very small teeth along the margin. Like most aspens, it has long flat leaf steams that are known to flutter in the wind.

Quaking aspen is found int he northern part of the state of Indiana. This species is found from Nefoundland through Alaska in the West, and as far south as Arizona. In the Midwest, it ranges south to northeastern Iowa, northern Illinois and Pennsylvania. It is also found in some scattered areas in the Appalachian Mountains. It is the most widely distributed tree in the United States.

According to the Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series, aspen is one of our lightest woods with a 12 percent moisture content and a weight of 26 to 27 pounds per cubic foot. It was at one time relegated to the pulp and paper industry as a weed tree, however it is now a favored species for the manufacturer of panel boards.

Full article also can be viewed with Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources News: Trees of Indiana: Quaking Aspen.

Other Resources
Aspen – Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series
Why Fall Color Is Sometimes a Dud – Purdue Landscape Report
Fifty Trees of the Midwest app for the iPhone
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook , The Education Store

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

 


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