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(Populus tremula), a dioecious deciduous tree of the genus Populus of the family Salicaceae. The European aspen is up to 35 m tall and has a diameter of up to 1 m. It is a round-headed or broadly conical tree. The gray-green leaves are nearly orbicular or orbicular-rhomboidal; there are large, irregular notches along the edges. The petioles are very compressed, thus causing the leaf blades to sway even in a mild breeze. The flowers are in hanging cylindrical catkins, which measure 4–15 cm long. The fruit is a capsule. The flowers appear before the leaves. The tree grows rapidly and has a life-span of 80 to 100 years. It often dies from fungus disease.
The European aspen is distributed in northern Eurasia, where it is mixed in coniferous and broad-leaved forests. In the steppes it forms groves and is found on the slopes of ravines. The tree often grows at the site of burnt out forests and at logging sites. It is planted in parks and as protective plantings. The European aspen is especially decorative in the autumn, owing to the bright carmine or yellow color of its leaves. The soft, lightweight, yellowish white timber is used in the manufacture of matches and cellulose; it is also used to make crates and various small articles.
REFERENCEDerev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
V. N. GLADKOVA