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Plains Cottonwood   arrow

Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera
Family: Salicaceae, Willow

Key Steps


Plains Cottonwood leafLeaf: Triangular, glossy. with flat base, pointed tip. May have 2 or 3 glands near base of leaf at top of flat petiole which is 2 1/2 to 4 inches long. Margins have large rounded to pointed teeth. 3-5 veins meet at leaf base.

Bud: Lateral buds: lowermost bud scale is centered directly over the leaf scar (typical of all species of Poplar). Buds are larger (over 1/2 inch), pointed, shiny, and can be green, yellow or gray. Stick out away from stem. May be gummy. Terminal bud present.

Leaf Scar: Crescent-shaped, 3-6 bundle scars. Very noticeable stipule scars (horizontal lines) on either side of the leaf scar.

Stem: Knobby (due to the enlarged nodes) and grayish-green.

Bark: Gray, thick ridges and deep furrows.

Pith: Brown, solid, 5-sided.

Flower: Male and female flowers on separate trees. Flowers appear before leaves. Drooping catkins.

Fruit: Capsules split open to release small seeds that are on a mat of long silky hairs (cotton). Note: P. deltoides ‘Siouxland’ is cottonless.

Habit: Large, open form. Several main branches. Colorado native to the plains and foothills.

Culture: High water needs.