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Eastern Cottonwood

Populus deltoides

Other common name(s):

Carolina Poplar, Necklace Poplar, Alamo

Family:

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Central Great Plains, Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, High Plains, Southern Texas Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Broken Red Plains, Red Prairie
Chihuahuan Basins and Playas, Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas, Stockton Plateau
Carbonate Cross Timbers, Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Limestone Cut Plain, Western Cross Timbers
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift
Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Canadian/Cimarron High Plains, Llano Estacado, Rolling Sand Plains
Northern Nueces Alluvial Plains, Rio Grande Floodplain and Terraces, Texas-Tamaulipan Thornscrub
Canadian/Cimarron Breaks, Caprock Canyons Badlands Breaks, Flat Tablelands and Valleys, Semiarid Canadian Breaks
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie, Southern Blackland Prairie
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Pleistocene Fluvial Terraces, Red River Bottomlands, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Tree

Height

12
to
36
ft.

Spread

35
to
60
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Clay, Moist

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade, Shade

Water Requirement

High

Native Habitat

Woodland, Wetland or Riparian

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

Yellow

Bloom Season

Spring

Seasonal Interest

Fall Color, Seeds, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Birds

Maintenance

Fast growing, but short-lived tree. The name refers to the abundant cottony seeds. Tolerant of any (except for constantly waterlogged) soil. Does best in deep, fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Weak wood. Don’t plant too close to buildings, roots are widespread. Foliage provides attractive fall color. Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings, Seed.

Comments

Blooms February-April. A large-canopied tree with upright, stout limbs, that arch at the tips, creating a vase-shape outline. The bark is silvery-white, smooth or lightly fissured when young, becoming dark gray and deeply fissured on old trees. Male and female flowers are produced on separate trees before leaves emerge. Female trees produce tiny flowers, on hanging catkins, that then mature into green capsules that release seeds with tufts of cottony hairs. The male pollen catkins are reddish-purple. Birds eat the seeds. Larval Host: Morning Cloak and Viceroy, Great Purple Hairstreak.

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 53. 3) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PODE3. 4) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Populus+deltoides&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 5) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=22491&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 6) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=22445#null
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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason