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Eastern cottonwood

Eastern cottonwood seeds

Eastern cottonwood

Eastern cottonwood tree description TreeNA post

About the cottonwood tree

Eastern cottonwood (eastern poplar) - Populus deltoides

Identification: Eastern cottonwoods can be identified by their blocky, ashy-gray bark, which has extremely thick, flat-topped furrowed ridges on mature trees. The leaves of the eastern cottonwood are broad and slightly triangular. The base of each leaf is coarsely toothed. Upper sides of the leaves are a dark green, and the undersides are pale; the leaves turn yellow in fall. The cottonwood has caterpillar-like flowers, called catkins, which are wind pollinated. The seeds have a fluffy tuft of fuzz, hence the term “cottonwood.” 

Height: 70-100 feet 

Preferences: Full sun. Hardiness zones 3-9. Prefers moist areas and can be found in floodplains.

Wildlife value: Young trees and twigs provide food for rabbits and whitetail deer. Many species of game birds and songbirds use cottonwoods for nesting. Beavers use saplings for food and dam construction.

Uses: The wood of the cottonwood is brittle, but grows relatively fast. It is used for pallets, shipping crates, pulp, plywood core stock and other low-value items.