Here's a dumb question, but I haven't been able to figure this out even with a lot of googling.
Here in the great lakes area we have a tree everyone I know calls the "quaking ash."
It looks just like a cottonwood.... tall, with heart-shaped leaves, etc. But the bark is different. The lower trunk is white and largely smooth, like a white birch tree, but with some patches of black.
Now, when I google on the web, I find the "quaking aspen" but not the quaking ash. The leaves, fall foilage, etc, look the exact same as what my friends call the quaking ash. But I do notice one difference in the web pictures. The quaking aspen seems to have white bark all the way up the tree trunk and in the branches. Also the white birch looks pretty consistent, without the occasional black patches on the white bark of the quaking ash. The quaking ash, as my friends call it, has white bark only on the lower part of the trunk and the biggest branches near the trunk. Elsewhere the color fades to gray.
So, what do you think? Are my friends confusing the name and what I see are just quaking aspens? Or is a quaking ash a distinct variant or variety of some sort?
If it helps, I can post some quaking ash pictures here, but it may take me a few days, due to my work schedule.
Thank you for your help!