Aspen Poplar

This slender tree has a long trunk and rounded crown. The bark is smooth and greenish-white in colour, but blackens near the base as it matures.

Branches: Restricted to tops on mature trees

Leaves: Alternate, simple and oval to ovate; fine, wide, irregular, with rounded teeth on margin

Flowers: Small, hairy, drooping catkins that appear before the leaves

Regions: well-drained soils throughout Alberta; common in forested regions

Balsam Poplar

This slender tree has a straight trunk and narrow crown. The bark is light grey and smooth on young trees, but turns dark grey and furrowed on mature trees.

Branches: Stout and pointing in an upward direction

Leaves: Alternate, simple and ovate to ovate lanceolate; shiny dark green in colour, with whitish-green underside; long, fine and irregular with winter buds that are large, pointed and covered with sticky resin

Flowers: Small, drooping catkins that appear before the leaves

Regions: Rich, moist soils and low-lying terrain; common throughout most of Alberta

Lodgepole Pine

This tall, slender evergreen has little taper and a straight trunk. The bark is orange-brown in colour, is less scaly than other species, and is only half an inch thick.

Branches: Self-pruning in pure strands with an upward curve

Leaves: Needle-shaped, in bundles of two; yellowish-green in colour; long, stiff and spiralled

Cones: Short-cylindrical or egg-shaped that curve away from branch tip, and remain on trees for many years; scales are armed with small prickles

Regions: well-drained sandy soils in the western Alberta; abundant in Rocky Mountains and foothills regions


This slender tree has a straight trunk and little taper. The bark is smooth, thin and grey, but becomes reddish-brown and scaly as it matures.

Branches: Slightly downward curve

Leaves: Needle-shaped, in feather-like clusters; pale green, but bright yellow in the fall ; long, soft and flexible

Cones: Long and reddish, but brown as matures; open in the fall, and remain on trees throughout the winter months a s well as the following summer

Regions: muskeg or swamp areas in central and northern Alberta; can be found in mountains in Lake Louise and Montana border

White Spruce

This dense evergreen has a straight, tapered trunk. The bark is thin, scaly and ashy-brown in colour.

Branches: Horizontal

Leaves: Needle-shaped and four-sided; bluish-green in colour and aromatic when crushed; long, straight, stiff and sharp-pointed

Cones: Cylindrical and located at the ends of twigs; yellow when young, but brown when mature; open in the fall and drop during winter and spring

Regions: common throughout western, central and northern Alberta


This tree varies in size and form, and has many branches. The bark is yellowish-brown, reddish-brown or grey in colour, and can be smooth or scaly.

Flowers: Greenish female catkins; yellowish male catkins

Leaves: Alternate, simple, long and narrow at both ends; most have small fine teeth on margins

Regions: Wetter, sun-loving areas throughout Alberta; common along lakes and rivers