Virginia Tech Dendrology

eastern cottonwood Salicaceae Populus deltoides Bartram ex Marsh. Listen to the Latin symbol: PODE3
Leaf: Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, 3 to 6 inches long, triangular (deltoid) in shape with a crenate/serrate margin. The petiole is flattened and glands are present at the top of the petiole.
Flower: Species is dioecious; male and female as pendulous catkins, appearing before the leaves.
Fruit: Cottony seeds, 1/4 inch long borne in a dehiscent capsule, maturing over summer.
Twig: Stout, somewhat angled and yellowish; buds are 3/4 inch long, covered with several brown, resinous scales. Has a bitter aspirin taste.
Bark: Smooth, gray to yellow-green when young. Later turning gray with thick ridges and deep furrows.
Form: A large tree with a clear bole and an open spreading crown resulting in a somewhat vase-shaped form.
Looks like: bigtooth aspen - swamp cottonwood - black cottonwood - Fremont cottonwood
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Populus deltoides is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting eastern cottonwood.
More Information: Fall Color - Wood - Landowner Factsheet
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson