13 Cottonwood group of five
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name: Populus deltoides
  • Common Names:Cottonwood,  Plains Cottonwood

  • Deciduous 

  • Sunlight / Moisture / Soil preference: Full sun with chalky, loam soils. Wet locations preferred
  • Flowering type: Dioecious -Female and Male flowers occur on separate trees
  • Pollination strategy: Wind
  • Native
  • Age Estimate/ Health:
  • Longevity: 70-100 years
  • Mature Size: 65-200 ft tall by 35-60 ft wide
  • GPS Coordinates N45.00289 W92.90338

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer

13 cottonwood winter tree
13 cottonwood summer

Leaves in Summer / Fall

13 cottonwood leaf summer
13 cottonwood leaf fall color

Flowers - Female & Male are on separate trees

Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious) in hanging clusters (catkins) from the leaf axils of 1 year old branches. Male catkins are 2 to 4½ inches long with tiers of red stamens. Female catkins are 2½ to 4¼ inches long with yellowish stigmas on top of a naked, round green ovary.

13 cottonwood flowers male
13 cottonwood female flowers

Fruit Unripe / Ripe

13 cottonwood unripe fruit
13 cottonwood fruit-seeds

Bark of Mature Tree / root system sketch

13 cottonwood bark
Place root system

Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife: Attracts bees and hummingbirds.

Utility for Humans: Cottony seeds can be a nuisance, and the pollen is considered moderately allergenic.  Fast growing but short-lived commercial hardwood; cultivated for its lightweight wood to make furniture, plywood or other products. Great shade tree with attractive fall colors. Good alongside creeping phlox, yew and dwarf lilac. 

Traditional uses in Native American Tree Medicine (historical):

Homeowner’s Corner: Watch for brown spot, leaf rot, sap-sucking insects, yellow spot, caterpillars. Large branches can break off of older trees, and the huge trunks are expensive to remove. 


Links & References

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