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 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.
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.”
Largest Tree Root System – Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Genetically identical aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) grow in large stands throughout cooler regions of North America. The individual trees within these stands are interconnected by a shared root system and it is that root system that ranks as the largest on the planet. New aspen trees grow as root sprouts that grow off of a parent tree. The largest known aspen grove, nicknamed Pando, is located in Utah and covers 106 acres and is estimated to weigh 6000 tonnes.