Aspen Trees: Nature's Shimmering Beauty

√ Updated: September 14, 2010

Aspen Tree Symbolism: Overcoming Fear

Aspen Tree SymbolismAspen tree symbolism includes determination and overcoming fears and doubts. Trees in general are almost universally a positive symbol: Nordic, Celtic, Indian, American Indian, Jewish, European and many other cultures all attach positive symbolic significance to trees. There are very rare stories in which a large tree may trap an individual or harm them in some way, but generally the tree is seen as a source of strength, shelter, protection and life. (Photo courtesy of Solipsist, Wikimedia Commons)

Aspen Tree Symbolism: Community

The aspen tree is significant in that it is also a symbol for the strength of community. Individual aspens live about 100 years. However, aspens reproduce by sprouting shoots from their roots. This allows them to grow in a cohesive grove. Even fire damage will not kill a grove of aspens if the roots remain alive. A grove is actually a single living organism that can reach several thousand years in age. By human standards, aspen groves are virtually immortal! In addition, the bark of aspen trees contains chlorophyll so that aspens can continue growing in the winter months.

Aspen Tree Symbolism: Strength through Diversity

Aspen SymbolAspen groves are healthiest when they include trees at all different levels of maturity. An aspen grove with only trees of a certain age is far more vulnerable to disease and natural disasters. In this way, aspen trees represent strength through diversity. If an organization or community of some type involves people who differ in some way (different occupations, different ages, different religious affiliations, different nationalities), the aspen would symbolize the strength of those people uniting for a particular cause or purpose.

Aspen Tree Distribution

Renowned for their golden autumn foliage, aspens are the only broadleaf tree in the Rocky Mountains. The aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America and the second most widely distributed in the world. The aspen grows from the Atlantic coast as far south as Virginia up through Alaska and the Arctic Circle. In the western states, aspen lives in the western at higher elevations, usually between 6,500 and 10,000 feet, in high plateaus and alpine areas.

Aspen SymbolQuaking Aspens

The characteristic fluttering of aspen tree leaves is one of their most notable attributes. Aspen leaves are flat in cross-section rather than round. This means aspen leaves can twist from side to side or flutter while remaining fairly stable vertically. The shimmering effect that results creates the characteristic aspen "quake." (Photo courtesy of SriMesh, Wikimedia Commons)

Aspen Ecology

Aspens like cool, dry summers and lots of sun and heavy snow in the winter. Aspens are often found growing in association with pine trees, cottonwood and willow trees. Aspens are an important source of food and shelter for an estimated five hundred species. The leaves, twigs and bark are favored by deer and elk as well as black bears, cottontails, porcupine, and snowshoe hares, grouse, quail, shrews, mice, and beaver.

Aspen Tree SymbolNature's Shimmering Beauty

Aspen are also valuable for paper production. Although not strong enough for most types of building, aspen boards are sometimes used for barn floors and horse stalls. All in all, aspen trees are amazing plants that add their unique qualities to countless forests across our planet. Look for nature's shimmering beauty next time you take a walk in the great outdoors!

More Resources for Trees and Tree Symbolism

For more information on tree symbolism, see the following recommended books from Amazon:
The Meaning of Trees: Botany - History - Healing - Love
Maypoles and Wood Demons: The Meaning of Trees
The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History

Aspen Trees for Your Yard or Garden

Find plants, trees and flowers at Nature Hills Nursery, Inc. Nature Hills Nursery offers one of the largest selections of high quality live plants and related products online, complete with extensive plant information.

Aspen Photos for Projects and Design

Need photos of aspen trees? Please visit Dreamstime Stock Photography. Dreamstime is a distinguished leader in stock photography and a major supplier of high quality digital images at unbelievable prices. The Dreamstime database is renewed with thousands of fresh images and titles on a daily basis. See more photos here.

More About Trees: Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees are one of the most amazing examples of man and nature working in harmony to produce unique living forms. Bonsai trees have a long and fascinating history. Learn more about bonsai meaning and how to grow your very own. See our article on bonsai trees or go directly to our recommneded website featuring bonsia trees: Bonsai Boy of New York.

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