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Populus deltoides

Eastern Cottonwood

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Populus deltoides (Eastern Cottonwood)

Deciduous trees with smooth grey or white bark, sometimes rough on the lower trunk. Leaves are usually roughly triangular or diamond-shaped, on a long stalk, with a paler green or white underside. Tiny flowers in long drooping catkins are produced in spring. The flowers may be followed by tiny seeds with a fluffy parachute of hairs which are released in late spring. The seed appearance gives the tree its common name.

Usually in damp soils or in river beds. Sometimes planted to stabilise river banks, but they may in fact cause erosion by creating dense thickets which divert flows against the opposite bank and may spread downstream away from the planting site.

Additional Information:

50-100 Feet


35-50 Feet


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Home Owner Growing and Maintenance Tips:
The main form of spread is by root suckers around the parent plant, forming large thickets. Spread over greater distances occurs when dumped material or branches detached in floods take root.

Characteristics & Attributes

Hydrologic Designation




Season of Interest

Late (July-frost)
Early (Feb-Apr)

Soil Moisture


Sun Exposure

Full Sun

USFS MO Ecological Map

Wildlife Benefit