Populus deltiodes Marshall - Eastern Cottonwood


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Populus deltoides - (image 1 of 7)



Family: Salicaceae


Moist habitats. Along streams, ditches, ponds. Forested floodplains.


In oak savanna with Andropogon scoparius, Asclepias tuberosa, Carex pensylvanica, Euphorbia corollata, Helianthus divaricatus, Lithospermum croceum, Lupinus perennis occidentalis, Phlox pilosa, Quercus alba, Quercus velutina, Rosa carolina, Sassafras albidum, Smilacina stellata, Tradescantia ohiensis, Vaccinium angustifolium.


Quebec and New England south to FL and TX, west to the foot of the Rocky Mountains.


Deciduous tree to 100'. Pyramidal when young, developing a broad crown with age. Leaves deltoid-ovate, alternate, simple, to 5" long, 2-3 gland at the base of the leaf, crenate-dentate, glabrous; petiole to 4" long, flattened laterally. Buds long, slender, pointed, yellow-brown, resinous, glabrous. Bark smooth, yellow-gray; mature bark dark gray and deeply furrowed. Flowers dioecious, in catkins appearing before the leaves; individual flowers solitary, inserted on a disk subtended by a bract; male flowers with 6-12 stamens; female flowers with one pistil. Fruit an oval capsule in 3-4 parts, to 1/3" long; seeds cottony.


Flowers late March to early May

Wetland indicator: Facultative +

A fast growing and usually short-lived tree. Fall color is sometimes an attractive yellow. Not a popular landscape tree because it is somewhat messy, particularly the cottony seeds which tend to clog up window screens.


Dirr, Michael A. 1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
5th ed. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.


Farrar, J. L. 1995. Trees of the Northern United States and Canada.
Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005