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Identify the Cottonwoods

Trees in the Willow Family - Salicaceae




Photo by Steve Nix
The cottonwoods are three species of poplars in the section Aegiros of the genus Populus, native to North America, Europe and western Asia. The Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides, is one of the largest North American hardwood trees, although the wood is rather soft. It is a riparian zone tree. It occurs throughout the eastern United States and just into southern Canada.
The Fremont Cottonwood Populus fremontii occurs in California east to Utah and Arizona and south into northwest Mexico; it is similar to Eastern Cottonwood, differing mainly in the leaves having fewer, larger serrations on the edge, and small differences in the flower and seed pod structure.

The Common North American Cottonwood Species

Leaves: alternate, triangular, coarsely curved teeth, Leafstalks flattened.
Bark: yellowish green and smooth.
Flowers: catkins, male - female on separate trees.

ash | beech | basswood | birch | black cherry | black walnut/butternut | cottonwood | elm | hackberry | hickory | holly | locust | magnolia | maple | oak | poplar | red alder | royal paulownia | sassafras | sweetgum | sycamore | tupelo | willow | yellow-poplar

ID Glossary

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