Aspen Trees (or are they Birch Trees?), Fish Lake Nature Trail, East Bethel, Minnesota

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (13)

davidcmc58 on October 26, 2009

This is a very beautiful shot of autumn birch trees. Regards, David from California

© Tom Cooper on October 27, 2009

Thanks, davidcmc58. Although I was not aware of it, I was trespassing at the time (aparently pranksters had removed a sign at a trail junction). In any case, it has ended up mapped a short distance away from where it was actually taken so I don't get found out.

© Tom Cooper on October 31, 2009

Thanks, Joe The Manatee. I do find this area beautiful. It would be even nicer if it didn't get colder than the arctic in the winter. Burrr...

© Tom Cooper on October 31, 2009

I'm afraid it still reaches 100° here many summers, with humidity in the mid-90's. Great tornado weather.

I have heard that the Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St Paul, MN) have the greatest temperature extremes of any major metro area in the world, and I could believe it. I've seen a variation of 135° in a 12- month span.

There are hotter places, and there are colder places, but there aren't to many that have the variation we do here.

Nawitka on November 5, 2009

A very beautiful image! But are you quite sure they are birch? They look a lot like our Aspen Poplar trees ... but hard to tell from this photo.

© Tom Cooper on November 7, 2009

Nawitka, Do your Aspen Poplar trees have nearly round leaves? Or are they more heart-shaped, with a distinct point opposite the stem?

Nawitka on November 7, 2009

We (I mean in Alberta) get both Quaking Aspen and Balsam Poplar. Maybe a few other Populus sp. The white bark has a white dusty substance and feels rather greasy. The black blotches start at the base and the older the tree, the more black it becomes at the bottom.

I'm not a real expert -- the white paper birch would tend to have horizontal stripes where the bark has peeled, and I don't see that here. Birch Leaves have a double-tooth edge. But it's a great photo anyway, love that bright yellow! Leaf ID North Dakota

© Tom Cooper on November 7, 2009

Nawitka, The bark on these trees is similar to this tree in your gallery:

Though, of course, mine are less streaked because they are small and young. I'm not a tree expert either, but I know we have quaking aspen and other poplars in the area. I've always identified the quaking aspen by the charactaristic wagging of the leaves. They are the only tree you can identify by leaf from a very great distance.

Nawitka on November 7, 2009

You are right, yours are birch. I spotted some peeling bark on the trunk of one in the upper right of your photo. Certainly when one is close there is no confusing the two.

joyfotos on April 13, 2010

Great shot! Loved your story...but we are richer for you having wondered astray:)

nhaugen on March 13, 2011

Actually I'm pretty sure those are in fact Quaking Aspen, although admittedly the trunks are whiter than is usual. You can tell both by looking at the twigs. If they are greenish and somewhat 'fat' its Aspen. If they are slender, whip like, and red to black its birch. Sorry but I don't see the peeling bark either.

© Tom Cooper on March 14, 2011

nhugen, I am more and more starting to lean that way myself. I am actually thinking that this is a stand of aspen that might have one or two birches on one edge. Unfortunately, the original does not show the bottoms of the trunks, which would be pretty definitive for me.

Jeff Gunderson on May 27, 2012

They are Aspen. They appear to have nearly round leaves and are growing in a dense group of all about the same age. Also, if they were birch, some of them would branch out into multiple trunks near ground level. Aspen are almost never seen split into several trunks.

Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 20, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by © Tom Cooper
    • Camera: FUJIFILM FinePix S2000HD
    • Taken on 2009/10/17 12:41:59
    • Exposure: 0.010s (1/100)
    • Focal Length: 16.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash