Bigtooth Aspen Populus grandidentata Michaux    Synonyms: Big-toothed Aspen, Large-toothed Aspen.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Salicales   >   Family Salicaceae   >   Genus Populus   

Status:

Bigtooth Aspen is distributed from Nova Scotia to northeastern North Dakota, through the Lake States, in the northeasten U.S., and along the Appalachians to Tennessee. It is a pioneer tree that colonizes open, disturbed areas. Although mature trees are easily damaged by wildfire because of their thin bark, Big-Toothed Aspen can rapidly regenerate following a fire because its underground runners produce clonal trees quickly. This cloning ability makes Bigtooth Aspen important in reclaiming logged and eroded lands, old fields, and mine sites.

Description:

A small to medium sized tree. The trunk is relatively straight and the crown sparse. Leaves are roughly circular in outline, with large teeth. The leafstalks are flattened perpendicular to the plane of the blade. The leaves are white-woolly beneath when young. Bark is gray and mostly smooth in young trees but becomes gray-brown, rough, and deeply furrowed in older specimens. Flowers are small catkins, male and female borne on separate trees. Fruits are small, narrow capsules closely packed on the female catkin. The root system is shallow, woody, and widely spreading, giving the species its ability to produce clonal tree quickly. As a successional species, Bigtooth Aspen is not generally long lived, but can reach 100 years.

Where to find:

Bigtooth Aspen is often found in sandy soils of stream valleys and slopes, but also occurs on many other kinds of sites, including swampy ones.

Relationships:

Host plant to various moth species including Gypsonoma substitutionis, Black-rimmed Prominent Moth, Common Gluphisia Moth, Black-etched Prominent Moth, and possibly Four-spotted Gluphisia Moth (Gilligan, Wright, & Gibson, 2008, Miller et al., 2018).

A favorite food of beavers and also used in their dams (Brown and Brown, 1972).

There are 134 records in the project database.

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Bigtooth Aspen leaves in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/5/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A young Bigtooth Aspen growing along a weedy roadside in Dorchester Co., Maryland (6/2/2012). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen, young tree, in Frederick Co., Maryland (7/24/2016). Photo by Jane Hill. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen leaves in Tucker Co., West Virginia (7/9/2012). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen leaves changing into fall colors in Garrett Co., Maryland (9/27/2012). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Howard Co., Maryland (4/27/2014). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/18/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Garrett Co., Maryland (11/19/2018). Photo by Boyer and McDowell. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (12/14/2018). Photo by Matt Grey. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/21/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/21/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Montgomery Co., Maryland (10/23/2016). Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen, autumn leaves against trunk of old specimen, in Frederick Co., Maryland (11/7/2015). Photo by Jane Hill. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Garrett Co., Maryland (7/8/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/22/2021). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Baltimore Co., Maryland (1/9/2019). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Baltimore City, Maryland (4/27/2019). (c) Brett M, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Brett M via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Baltimore Co., Maryland (1/22/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Baltimore Co., Maryland (1/9/2019). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Bigtooth Aspen in Baltimore Co., Maryland (1/22/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)


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