Eastern Cottonwood

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This is a large, fast-growing tree found growing along streams, rivers and lowland areas. It is what is known as a “classic floodplains tree.” I have one growing next to the creek in my backyard.

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The genus of its Latin name, Populus deltoides indicates that it is a type of Poplar Tree. The species, deltoides, refers to its triangle-shaped leaves.

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Eastern Cottonwood is almost as massive as a Sycamore in regard to its trunk and broad-spreading canopy. It commonly reaches 80 feet tall by 60 feet wide, but can be much larger.

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The flat leaf stems cause its leaves flutter in the slightest breeze, often looking like a hand waving back and forth, as do the leaves of most Poplars.

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In late Spring and early Summer, I get “snow in June” when the fruit capsules open to release their small seeds attached to many cotton-like strands. It is the continuous release of these fluffy seeds for 2-3 weeks that results in the tree’s common name.

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These trees develop very deep fissures in their bark. Mature Eastern Cottonwood bark is among the thickest of all trees in North America.

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Eastern Cottonwoods have many unique characteristics that make them worth checking out.

Third Eye Herp

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