Aspen (Populus tremula) is a deciduous tree from the Willow family (Salicaceae). It is found almost all over Europe, North Africa, and America. In the east, its area extends through Minor and Central Asia, and Mongolia, up to the Far East. It grows throughout the territory of Slovakia, from the lowlands to the mountain areas. Popularly, it is called the trembling aspen. It is a fast-growing tree, which in ideal conditions reaches a height of 30 meters.
The aspen is exceptional for its leaves which tremble even in the slightest of breeze, creating a typical rustling sound. It is due to the flattened petioles, which allow the leaves to twist and turn in the wind.
Its scientific name, Populus tremula, comes from the Latin word “tremulus”, which means “trembling”, reflecting the characteristic movement of its leaves.
Aspens are pioneer species, being among the first trees to colonize disturbed or bare areas, such as those affected by fire or landslides.
The bark is of light green to gray color. It is smooth on a young tree but becomes rough and furrowed with age.
It serves as an important food source and a biotope for a variety of wildlife animals, such as beavers, deer, and roe deer.
The wood is relatively soft and light, being suitable for the production of paper, plywood, and matches.
Aspens are often used in landscaping for land modification and erosion control thanks to its ability to grow in various soils and conditions.
For centuries, aspens, specifically the inner part of the bark, have been used to treat various illnesses such as fever, cough, and diarrhea.