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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.

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Populus heterophylla

Populus heterophylla L.

Swamp Cottonwood, Swamp Poplar, Black Cottonwood, Downy Poplar

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Synonym(s): Populus argentea

USDA Symbol: POHE4

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

Most recently discovered Canadian tree (April 2003). Found in Bickford Woods south of Sarnia, Ont.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall, usually shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA
Canada: ON
Native Habitat: Forest,Swamp/Marsh

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Clay, Loam


Attracts: Birds

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.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 80 - Illinois Wildflowers (2002) John Hilty
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Populus heterophylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Populus heterophylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Populus heterophylla


Record Modified: 2023-06-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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