Populus angustifolia James
Narrowleaf Cottonwood, Narrow-leaf Cottonwood
Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Synonym(s): Populus balsamifera var. angustifolia, Populus canadensis var. angustifolia, Populus fortissima, Populus salicifolia, Populus tweedyi, Populus ×sennii
USDA Symbol: poan3
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.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 60 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NE , NM , NV , OR , SD , TX , UT , 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
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Populus angustifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Populus angustifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Populus angustifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-09-23
Research By: TWC Staff