Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera (Plains cottonwood)
Reveal, James L.

Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera

Populus deltoides W. Bartram ex Marshall ssp. monilifera (Aiton) Eckenwalder

Plains Cottonwood, Great Plains Cottonwood, Texas Cottonwood, Northern Cottonwood

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Synonym(s): Monilistus monilifera, Populus besseyana, Populus deltoides var. occidentalis, Populus monilifera, Populus occidentalis, Populus sargentii, Populus sargentii var. texana, Populus texana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Plains Cottonwood is a western subspecies of Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) that has slightly smaller leaves that are often broader than long and more coarsely toothed.

The Plains Cottonwood is a member of the willow family (family Salicaceae) which consists of deciduous, often aromatic trees and shrubs. About 350 species in the genera willow (Salix) and poplar (Populus); nearly worldwide, mostly in north temperate and arctic regions. 35 native and 5 naturalized tree species and about 60 native shrub species in North America. The large genus of willows (Salix), characteristic of wet soils, includes shrubs and mostly small trees, often with several stems or trunks from base and forming thickets. Leaves are narrow and commonly long-pointed and finely toothed, with distinct odor when crushed, turning yellow in autumn; leafstalks are very short with paired and often large stipules. Bark is gray or brown, smooth or becoming rough, scaly or furrowed, bitter, and aromatic. The slender or wiry twigs are tough, flexible, often shedding or easily detached at forks. The many tiny yellowish or greenish flowers usually appear in early spring before leaves; male and female are on separate plants, many crowded in mostly erect catkins. Each flower is above a hairy scale and has a glandlike disc, without calyx or corolla. Male flowers have 1-2 (sometimes to 12) stamens; female have a narrow pointed pistil. The many conical 1-celled long-pointed capsules along a slender stalk, are mostly light brown and mature in late spring or early summer, splitting into 2 parts. The numerous tiny seeds have tufts of white cottony hairs.


From the Image Gallery

44 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 130 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: CO , IA , IL , IN , KS , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , OH , OK , PA , SD , TX , WI , WY
Canada: AB , MB , ON , SK
Native Habitat: Stream/river banks, Roadsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera


Record Modified: 2022-09-23
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back