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Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa (Torr. & Gray ex Hook.) Brayshaw
Synonyms: Populus trichocarpa
USDA Symbol: pobat
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A variable deciduous tree that grows quickly to 100 ft. and can reach a mature height of 180 ft. The crown is broad and open and the grayish bark becomes furrowed with age. The dark-green leaves shimmer in the breezes and contrast nicely with the light-gray bark.
Black Cottonwood, formerly considered the species P. trichocarpa but now designated a subspecies of Balsam Poplar, is the tallest native western hardwood. The current champion in Yamhill County, Oregon, measures 147 (44.8 m) in height, 30.2 (9.2 m) in trunk circumference, and 97 (29.6 m) in crown spread. The wood is used for boxes and crates, pulpwood, and excelsior. Black Cottonwood intergrades with its northern relative Balsam Poplar where both meet in southern Alaska and elsewhere.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr
AK , CA , ID , MT , ND , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
AK to Baja CA, e. to s.w. Alt. & w. UT Native Habitat:
Stream banks & a variety of other moist sites below 9000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Moist soils. Conditions Comments:
Seems to have two distinct forms – one coastal and one inland. A very large, fast-growing, sometimes invasive tree
that is best used for reclamation projects and periodically flooded sites.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Bees collect sticky resin on buds for their hives and seal intruders in the resin to prevent decay amd protect the hive.
Use Other: Good for stabilizing stream banks.
Fragrant Foliage: yes
PropagationDescription: Cottonwoods can be propagated by seeds, cuttings or layering. Fresh seed is viable only a few days. Seeds should not be covered and seedbed should be kept saturated the first month.
Seed Collection: Seed viability is short unless stored under cold, dry conditions.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff