Plains cottonwood

  • Latin name: Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera (Ait.) Eckenw.
  • French name: Peuplier deltoïde de l'Ouest
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 22447
    22449 [syn. P. deltoides var. occidentalis Rydb.]
    195711 [syn. P. sargentii Dode]
  • NA2 , C2
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - plains cottonwood

Form

  • Triangular, tip taper-pointed
  • Often pendulous
  • 1 or 2 glands at the base of the leaf blade
  • Neoformed leaves broadly ovate, hairy when unfolding
  • Base more rounded than eastern cottonwood

Length

  • 5–10 cm
  • Tip longer than eastern cottonwood

Colour

  • Upper surface bright shiny green
  • Lower surface slightly paler
  • Petiole yellowish-green

Margin

  • 5–15 rounded teeth per side, no teeth on the tip or near the petiole
  • Narrow, translucent
  • Teeth smaller and more numerous on neoformed leaves

Petiole

  • Smooth
  • Hairless
  • Flattened
  • Long

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - plains cottonwood

Form

  • Terminal bud 3-sided
  • Slender, long-pointed
  • Very resinous, covered with minute hairs
  • Lateral leaf buds slightly smaller, diverging from the twig
  • Flower buds stout
  • Leaf scars large, 3-lobed, with eyelash-like hairs at juncture of bud and scar

Length

  • About 20 mm

Colour

  • Yellowish-brown

Twigs

Form

  • Stout, smooth, hairless
  • Angular in cross-section
  • Narrow ridges extend down from either side of the bud
  • Lenticels sparse, linear

Colour

  • Light yellow

Flowers

Length

  • Catkins 5–7 cm

Structure

  • Dioecious

Fruits

Form

  • Stalk hairless
  • Capsules oval, tapering to both ends
  • Splitting into 3 or 4 parts when mature

Length

  • Mature seed catkins 15–25 cm
  • Capsules 8–12 mm

Bark

Form

  • Smooth, with age becoming deeply furrowed

Colour

  • Yellowish-grey, with age becoming dark grey

Size

Height

  • To 30 m

Diameter

  • To 100 cm

Maximum age

  • 50 years

Tree form

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Long, straight

Crown

  • Small, rounded

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Short, massive
  • Often divided near the ground into a few large, wide-spreading limbs

Crown

  • Broad, irregular-shaped, open

Root System

  • Usually shallow, wide-spreading
  • Sometimes deep

Habitat

Site

  • Rich moist sites, stream banks
  • Frequently planted on the prairies for shelterbelts

Associated species

  • In open stands with other species; sometimes forms pure stands

Range

In the southern parts of the Prairie provinces; south to Texas
Naturalized along many streams and rivers outside its natural range
In Ontario, plains cottonwood intergrades with eastern cottonwood

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Plains cottonwood
  • Plains cottonwood
  • Plains cottonwood
  • Plains cottonwood
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