eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides
  • LEAVES: alternate, simple, deciduous; deltoid shape, blunt teeth, crenate margin; flat petiole
  • FLOWER: dioecious; catkins; spring
  • FRUIT: capsules on drooping stalks, seeds 1-2 mm with cottony tuft; clogs window screens, banned by many cities
  • TWIGS: stout, brittle, angled, sometimes with ridges; large, resinous terminal buds
  • BARK: gray, deeply furrowed, with prominent ridges; can be confused with black walnut (rather embarrassing, however)
  • FORM: very large tree, over 100’ and 5’ diameter; very fast growing
  • HABITAT: floodplains, river margins, battures; grows best on well drained soils; moderate growth on upland sites
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: eastern US, except peninsular Florida
  • USES: pulp, pallets, low quality hardwood products; browse, bark, buds for deer, rabbits and beaver
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. deltoid leaf with crenate margin
    2. flat petiole
    3. gray, furrowed bark

    NOTES: swamp cottonwood (Populus heterophylla) is a very similar tree; its range is roughly the same as Populus deltoides, but it is a medium-sized tree with leaves having a rounded or cordate base and round petioles