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492 WHISPERING WINDS - QUAKING ASPENS
A late September wind rushes through a stand of quaking aspens, tousling their fall color. The quaking aspen, the most widely distributed tree species in North America, is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas. In the Northern Plains, they typically grow in dense groves in sheltered areas and along streams. Propagating through its root system, the fast-growing quaking aspen can reach heights of 80 feet, with a 30 inch trunk. It is easily identified by thick, black horizontal marks and knots where branches naturally self-prune. Aspen leaves, twigs and bark are eaten by grizzly bears, deer, elk, moose, snowshoe hares, porcupines and several species of birds. The name "Quaking Aspen" refers to the unique design that allows the leaves to twist back and forth or "quake," which may help dissipate strong winds that could snap the tree trunk.