One of many Plympton streets to take is name from a tree, Aspen Gardens namesake is the ‘populus tremula’, a member of the poplar family. Common throughout Europe and North America, in Britain it is predominantly found in the North, particularly the Scottish highlands, where it was the staple diet of British beavers, until their extinction in mediaeval times.
The long flat stems of the aspen make the leaves very susceptible to the wind, and even the gentlest breeze will cause a quiver. Traditionally the constant trembling of its leaves indicates a secret grief or guilt on the part of the tree, and the phrase ‘to tremble like an aspen’ became a popular saying. The simile is evident in the works of both Chaucer and Shakespeare, and the name, Aspen, is itself old English.