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We visited our family during the kid’s summer holidays and on our return from Prince George the aspen trees caught my attention.

Between Prince George (northern British Columbia) and Quesnel, the majority of aspen trees looked grey.  During the summer and early autumn, the foliage of aspen trees is a deep green, not quite as dark as the evergreen trees in the area.  The trees looked oddly ghostly, not normal at all.  I first thought it might be a mildew infestation.  Then I thought, it might be possible that an early frost had hit the trees.  But this did not seem right because a frost would hit the top branches and not necessary the inner branches.

I finally stopped to have a closer look.  I soon realized it was an insect infestation. Insect larvae had eaten through the very thin layers of a leaf and exited at the far end of the leaf.  The reason why leaves appeared grey was because the green chlorophyll layer had been eaten by the insect larvae.  The patterns created by these insects were beautiful.
A further look at the Aspen leaf miner, see link at the end of this article.

Beautiful patterns in a aspen leaf.

A pathway of an insect

Ghostly looking trembling aspen

Along the Prince George Highway BC grey aspen were the norm.

A grey forest!

Grey aspen in the foreground.  Green fir in the background.

During the summer months, aspen are similar in colour
to other green plants below the aspen.
The grey was startling against a backdrop of green fir and close to pale
green herbaceous plants.

The whole aspen tree canopy was consumed by these insects.

In nature, you never know what there is to see.

Aspen infestation in the news.

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