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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Populus angustifolia James
Narrow-leaf cottonwood, Narrowleaf cottonwood
Synonym(s): Populus balsamifera var. angustifolia, Populus canadensis var. angustifolia, Populus fortissima, Populus salicifolia, Populus tweedyi, Populus ×sennii
USDA Symbol: POAN3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Narrow-leaf cottonwood is a small, deciduous tree, growing 45-60 ft., with a rather narrow crown and slender twigs. Bark is less deeply furrowed than the broad-leaved cottonwoods. Toothed, yellow-green leaves are narrow and willow-like. Tree with narrow, conical crown of slender, upright branches and with resinous, balsam-scented buds.
Discovered in 1805 by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Northwest, this is the common cottonwood of the northern Rocky Mountains. It is easily distinguishable from related species by the narrow, short-stalked, willowlike leaves. Its root system makes it suitable for erosion control.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Alt. to s.e. OR,
s. to Trans-Pecos, TX, AZ
& n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Stream banks; foothills; high plains
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist to mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Female trees produce clouds of cottony seeds each spring that can be a temporary nuisance. To avoid the problem, plant only male trees.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2008-04-01
Research By: TWC Staff