Populus tremuloides “Quaking Aspen” Salicaceae

Council Grove State Park, MT
March 16, 2015
Robert Niese

We have several species of willows, aspens (well, one aspen), and poplars in the PNW that produce these adorable fuzzy flowers in the early spring. These compact “pussy-foot” catkins are very typical of willows (Salix), but Quaking Aspen produces a very similar inflorescence. The easiest way to tell the two apart is to look at the buds. In Aspen, you’ll see lots of overlapping bud scales while in willows, the buds are smooth and consist of a single, wrap-around scale.

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