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A deciduous hardwood tree of the willow family, such as Populus tremula (European quaking aspen), P. tremuloides (American quaking aspen) and P. alba (white aspen). Aspen trees are native to northern Europe, Asia and North America. The fast-growing aspen trees have a smooth, pale gray bark and circular leaves with toothed edges. The soft, yellowish-white timber has a uniform, straight grain with almost no distinction between the summerwood and springwood. Aspen poplar wood has large, evenly-distributed pores that produce a soft fibrous texture. It cannot be planed smooth. Aspen wood is easy to work, but weak, prone to warping and produces a disagreeable odor when wet. The lightweight, spongy wood is generally used for matches, excelsior, fruit boxes and paper pulp.

Aspen (Silver poplar) (Populus alba)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Populus tremula; Populus tremuloides; Populus alba; peuplier tremble (Fr.); Espe (Deut.); Pappel (Deut.); Zitterpappel (Deut.); pioppo tremula (It.); alamo temblon (Esp.); cran critheach (Gaelic); choupo (Port.); aspen poplar; trembling aspen; trembling poplar; quivering aspen; shaking aspen; popple

Other Properties

Freshly cut wood is full of sap and will not float and will not burn.

Light colored. Rings: obscure. Pores:large. Grain:invisible. Rays:obscure. Soft; lightweight; spongy

Density 28 ppcf
Molecular Weight specific gravity = 0.45

Additional Information

Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingruber, F.H., Kienast, F., 2004:Wood anatomy of central European Species: Aspen, Populus tremula L.


  • H.L.Edlin, H.L.Edlin, What Wood is That?, Viking Press, New York, 1969
  • G.S.Brady, G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 75
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Gordon Hanlon, Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998

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