eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Cottonwood is a fast growing but relatively short-lived species found along waterways and bottomlands. Two varieties are recognized: eastern cottonwood and plains cottonwood. Both varieties are valued for their ability to rapidly provide shelter from wind and sun, and material for wood and pulp products.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Cottonwood is used for lumber, veneer, plywood, excelsior, fiberboard, paper pulp, pulpwood, pallets, crates, furniture.


Wildlife Value
      Since cottonwood grows commonly along riparian areas, its importance to wildlife, especially in more arid areas, is large. Many species use cottonwoods as habitat and browse material.
          Attracts: mice, rabbits, deer, turkeys, northern bobwhite, grouse, hawks, eagles, and many other birds.

Regeneration methods
      Very intolerant of shade, cottonwood must be regenerated by clearcut or seed-tree methods. Cottonwood is very well adapted to plantation management.

Fun facts
Cottonwood is short-lived, but can develop into a massive tree. The growth of cottonwood is very rapid. Plains cottonwood is often the only tree to be found in arid parts of the U.S. west. It often signifies the presence of water and offers protection from the relentless sun.
Populus: Latin name / deltoides: triangular (leaf)
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

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