The Populus Grandidentata
is commonly known as Aspen
, Bigtooth Aspen
, as well as Largetooth Aspen< Go Back
Bigtooth aspen primarily occurs in the northeastern United States,
southeastern Canada, and the Great Lakes Region. Its range extends from
Virginia north to Maine and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; west to
southeastern Manitoba and Minnesota; south through Iowa to extreme
northeastern Missouri; and east through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and
West Virginia. Disjunct populations are found in Kentucky, Tennessee,
North Carolina, and South Carolina [29
The currently accepted scientific name for bigtooth aspen is Populus
grandidentata Michx. (Salicaceae) [29
]. Bigtooth aspen, along with five
other aspen species, has been assigned to the subsection Trepidae of
the section Leuce in the genus Populus. Because of their similarities,
these six species are sometimes considered a single super species [44
Bigtooth aspen and quaking aspen (P. tremuloides) are the only two North
American aspen species.
In literature concerning areas where both North American aspen species
occur, many authors do not distinguish between bigtooth aspen and
quaking aspen. The information is reported about "aspen" in general.
In this writeup, "aspen" is used when citing studies in which both
species are discussed collectively.
Bigtooth aspen naturally hybridizes with the following species [29
x P. tremuloides: P. xsmithii Boivin
x P. alba (white poplar): P. xrouleauiana Boivin
Bigtooth aspen usually grows in even-aged mixed stands, most commonly
with quaking aspen [29,43]. It is a codominant tree in both hardwood
and conifer forests . Bigtooth aspen does not occur as a subdominant
species because of its extreme shade intolerance .
Quaking aspen is the predominant species in aspen stands in the
Northeast and Great Lakes Region, but bigtooth aspen dominates
on the drier upland sites [13,17]. Aspen stands dominated by bigtooth
aspen are generally more open than those dominated by quaking aspen
Overstory associates not previously mentioned in DISTRIBUTION AND
OCCURRENCE include balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), bur oak (Quercus
macrocarpa), white oak (Q. alba), basswood (Tilia americana), black
cherry (Prunus serotina), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum) .
A tall shrub layer is an important component of aspen forests .
Shrub associates include chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), downy
serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), dogwood (Cornus spp.), willow (Salix
spp.), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), speckled alder (Alnus rugosa),
American hazel (Corylus americana), and sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)
Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) and dwarf bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla
lonicera) are frequent subdominant understory species in bigtooth aspen
Bigtooth aspen is listed as a dominant or codominant species in the
1. Wilderness Ecology: virgin plant communities of the Boundary Waters
Canoe Area 
2. Aspen association in northern lower Michigan 
< Go Back
Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Carey, Jennifer H. 1994. Populus grandidentata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.