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Eastern cottonwood


Classification:

Family: Salicaceae, willow family
Genus, species: Populus deltoides

Leaves:
Leaves are large, triangular in shape. Edge of leaf is coarsely toothed, shiny green. Petiole is often bright red and is flattened sideways so leaves are always moving even in a slight breeze.

Bark:
Bark is yellowish-green and smooth on young trees, very thick and deeply furrowed on older trees.

Flowers:
Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious), arranged in catkins, appear before leaves in spring. Male catkins are reddish-purple. Female catkins are green.

Fruit:
Fruit is a capsule, splits open to release numerous small seeds attached to cotton-like strands. Seeds are wind dispersed.

Habitat:
Cottonwood trees live along stream banks and in floodplains, often co-occur with willows.

More Information:

The genus name Populus is an ancient name for "poplar," literally "the tree of the people."  The species name deltoides is from the Latin for "triangular-shaped" or "deltoid," referring to the triangular shape of the leaves.

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