©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION


©Ferran Turmo Gort


Scientific name: Populus tremula
Aspen is a slender poplar tree that can be spotted on heathland and in woodlands, particularly in Scotland. It displays hanging catkins in spring and its fluttering leaves turn vibrant yellow in autumn.

Species information


Height: up to 20m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Aspen is a deciduous, slender poplar tree of heathland, woodland and wet woodland, and can particularly be found in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Aspen is known as a 'colonial tree' because it spreads by growing suckers from its roots, from which new shoots appear; it can form extensive groves in this manner. However, Aspen also reproduces sexually through wind pollination: flowers can be seen from February to March, and the male and female catkins appear on separate trees.

How to identify

Aspen is a medium-sized tree with greyish bark, hanging catkins and small, rounded leaves that have pale undersides and flutter distinctively in the wind; they turn vibrant yellow in autumn.



Did you know?

Aspen is a favourite food of the European Beaver, which has recently been reintroduced into parts of Scotland having been extinct in the UK for 400 years.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.