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Downy Poplar Populus heterophylla

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Aigiros heterophylos
Description

Swamp Cottonwood is a large deciduous tree in the willow family.  It is found in riparian and low-lying wet areas in the Southeast.  While it usually has a poor form, it can grow up to 70-90' tall with a trunk 2-3' in diameter in proper conditions.

The tiny seeds can only germinate in the presence of moisture and sandy soil.  The downy coating lets them be carried long distances on the wind.

The soft, light wood is used for crates, baskets, and high-quality paper pulp.  It has a tendency to warp as it dries if not given proper caution.

This plant is found at wet bottomlands.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#native tree#riparian#coastal#wet sites#small mammals#moist soil#NC native#single trunk#swamps#native garden#Braham Arboretum#deciduous tree#wet soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#native tree#riparian#coastal#wet sites#small mammals#moist soil#NC native#single trunk#swamps#native garden#Braham Arboretum#deciduous tree#wet soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Populus
    Species:
    heterophylla
    Family:
    Salicaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Lumber and wood pulp for paper
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada and SE U.S.A., NC
    Distribution:
    Occasional throughout E. North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Seedlings and young trees browsed by rabbits, deer, and domestic stock
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Ovoid, green capsules that grow in clusters and turn brown when ripe. The seeds inside are small and downy. Seeds are hanging in catkins.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Species is dioecious; males occur in 1 inch long catkins, females occur in a sparse white flowered catkin.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Obtuse
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenulate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Broadly ovate, serrated margin, heart-shaped base, 4 to 7 inches long, petiole round, green above and paler below.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Strongly vertically ridged.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    Heart or shield shaped
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Riparian
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Short-lived