Friday, 23 October 2015
The Aspen is a tall, trembly member of the poplar genus. The long leaf stalks, laterally flattened, cause the leaves to quiver in the slightest breeze. In pagan mythology it was thought to be a magic or faerie tree and was treated with great respect. But with the advent of christianity, it was considered to be quivering from shame. Some traditions said it failed to show respect to Jesus, and others that it was the tree the cross was made from for Jesus's crucifixion.
In autumn the leaves turn a buttery yellow. In the photo above its foliage contrasts with the red of a dogwood on the edge of the woodland near post 3.
The leaves are almost round with a scalloped edge, but on young plants and root suckers the leaves have more of a point.
The aspen was one of the earliest trees to colonise Britain after the ice age because its seeds are spread and pollinated by the wind and do not need insects. It also spreads by suckers, so where you have one aspen you will soon have a grove of them.
In winter their tall, straight trunks are almost as silvery as birch trees.