Bigtooth aspen is a native of eastern North America. It prefers sandy, loamy soils,
including high, rocky sites. This is a clonal species, forming small groves of genetically
Plants: Deciduous tree, 59-115' (18-35 m) tall, with a
trunk 12-55" (30-140 cm) in diameter. Younger trees have smooth olive green bark. With age, the
bark becomes gray or gray-brown, thick, and roughly grooved, with diamond-shaped lenticels.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate to nearly circular, 2½-4½" (7-12 cm) ×
1¼-4" (3.5-10 cm), with large
blunt teeth. When leaves first open, they are covered by dense whitish hairs. Later leaves are dark bluish green on top, and pale green below. In the fall, they are golden yellow.
The leaf stem (petiole) is flattened vertically.
Flowers: These trees are dioecious: male and female flowers occur
on different trees. Both flowers are catkins, clusters of drooping narrow fuzzy flowerheads. Both catkins are about 1-3" (3-8 cm) long. The male catkins have 6-13 red stamens, while the female catkins have red
Fruits: Fruits are in similar catkins, ¼-½" (8-15 mm) long.
Each fruit is a thin cone with
a rounded base and two valves, a little like a pear,
up to ⅛" (6 mm) long. They eventually open to reveal tiny brown tufted seeds.
Populus grandidentata on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ...
The Natural History of the Northwoods