Large Toothed Aspen Poplar TreeLarge-toothed Aspen (Populus grandidentata, Michx.)Narrow, round-headed tree, 50 to 75 feet high, with stout, angular branchlets, roughened by leaf scars. Bark dark brown and deeply fissured between broad ridges on old trunks; grey-green on limbs. Twigs smooth, pubescent at first. Wood soft, weak, pale brown; sap wood white. Buds ovate, pointed, scaly, waxed. Leaves ovate to roundish, heart shaped at base, acute, with sparse, irregular-rounded teeth; 3 to 4 inches long, 2 to 3 inches wide, thick, green, with pale somewhat tomentose linings; petioles slender, laterally flattened, 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers, April, dioecious, in pendulous catkins, 2 to 3 inches long; staminate red from anthers; pistillate green from spreading stigmas; bracts deeply cleft. Fruits, hairy capsules, 2-valved, thin walled, slender, crooked, filled with minute seeds, each with white, hairy float; May. Preferred habitat, rich, sandy loam, on borders of streams. Distribution, Nova Scotia to Minnesota; south to New Jersey, and on Alleghanies to North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The coarse, thick leaves with large, rounded teeth on the margins, distinguished this great-toothed aspen from its dainty cousin, the quaking asp, with which it is often associated in the woods. In fact, the tree is coarser throughout, the branchlets stout and the buds downy, so no one who is interested and observant will have any trouble to tell them apart.