Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Moist, Sandy, Well Drained
The leaves of the quaking aspen are eaten by snowshoe hare, deer and elk. Fallen leaves are avidly taken by deer in fall and early winter. It is an important food supply and building material for beavers. Grouse depend on the buds for winter food. The tree is also a host to a myriad of birds and butterflies.
The slightest breeze will cause the leaves of this tree to tremble, or "quake," thus the name. The Onondagas are said to have called quaking aspen "nut-kie-e," meaning "noisy leaf." Unaided, this humble but sturdy little tree has restored many of the forests that man has destroyed and, when cultivated, has replenished many harvested forests within 50 years.
Aspen holds the title of largest living organism. The reason is that aspens grow in stands (called clones) and reproduce primarily by sending up sprouts from their roots. This means that virtually all the trees in a clone are connected. In Utah, where it serves as the state tree, one clone was observed to have 47,000 stems. It's estimated that this interlinked organism weighs 6,000 tons. And how about age records? While individual aspen trees live a vigorous 100–150 years, a clone in Minnesota has been estimated to be 8,000 years old, making it one of the oldest living things on earth.