Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prairie-Big Tooth Aspen

Big Tooth Aspen

Order: Salicales

Family: Salicaceae

Genus: Populus

Species: P. grandidentata

General Characteristics: Big-tooth aspen is a columnar tree 50-75 ft. tall. Toothed leaves are cottony-white on the lower surface, especially when the tree is young. The slender trunk’s whitish bark, becomes furrowed at base and darker gray with age. Silvery catkins appear before leaves. Deciduous foliage becomes golden-yellow in fall. Easily distinguishable from Quaking Aspen by the large curved teeth of leaf edges, mentioned in both common and scientific names. Like that species, Bigtooth Aspen is a pioneer tree after fires and logging and on abandoned fields, short-lived and replaced by conifers. The foliage, twig buds, and bark are consumed by wildlife.

Special Charcacteristics: Big toothed aspen is important for revegetating recently cut or burned land, holding soil in place and protecting other slower-growing species of plants.

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