benali
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Location: Zone 5b

Are Quaking Ash and Quaking Aspen the same tree?

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!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are Quaking Ash and Quaking Aspen the same tree?

I found this in unanswered posts, so I am bumping it.

I don't know, but I think it will help if you start looking by scientific names. Common names as you are finding out are unreliable. Ash is genus Fraxinus, so for e.g. green ash is Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Aspens are genus Populus. Quaking aspen is Populus tremuloides (for trembling). Like you, I didn't find any quaking ash. But looking up some ash and aspens under scientific names may help.
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benali
Senior Member
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 6:40 pm
Location: Zone 5b

Re: Are Quaking Ash and Quaking Aspen the same tree?

Thanks, RBG. Good idea. I should have thought of that. Scientific names can help narrow this down.

When I get back from on the road, I'll post a picture of this "quaking ash." As I say, it looks just like the "quaking aspen" one sees all over the web, except that the trunk and big branches fade from white to gray as they narrow. It could just be a color variant of the quaking aspen, or maybe it's a different tree. Pictures soon!

Thanks again.

benali
Senior Member
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 6:40 pm
Location: Zone 5b

Re: Are Quaking Ash and Quaking Aspen the same tree?

I was able to determine that this tree is the QUAKING ASPEN.

According to my research, quaking aspens can have trunks that are all white (looking like the bark of a white birch tree), or it can vary. In this latter case part of the bark may be a green color (or even brownish) while the rest is white. This latter case is what the trees are that I was trying to identify in this thread.

There is no such tree as a "quaking ash" according to the online sources I consulted. It is odd that two local people told me that's what this was. My guess is that this is a local name (which is pretty common with trees, as you know many have more than a single "common name").

Just wanted to follow up and close out this thread.
Cheers!

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