Image for Eastern Cottonwood

Eastern Cottonwood

Scientific name

Populus deltoides


The Eastern Cottonwood is a medium to large sized deciduous tree, growing up to 30 m in height. The trunk tends to branch out in open areas, giving it a multi-stemmed trunk and a broad crown. The leaves are triangular, have a heart-shaped base with a pointed tip, and have large rounded teeth all along the margin. They are about 5-10 cm long with a leaf stalk of the same size. These protein rich leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall before falling to the ground. Male and female catkins grow on separate trees and appear before leaves emerge in April to May. The catkins are 5-7 cm long with the males having a dark red colour and the females having a green colour. Female trees produce fruit that look like green, egg-shaped capsules. In the early summer, these capsules split into 3 or 4 parts and release hundreds of tiny seeds with white hairs, appearing like cotton balls, hence the name of the species.

Planting conditions

Eastern Cottonwood grows best in full sun or partially sun areas as well as in soils which are normal to wet and composed of sand or loam. The natural habitats of the Eastern Cottonwood are woodlands, wet meadows, riparian edges, swamps/marshes, and lake shorelines. This tree is useful due to its ability to mitigate erosion and tolerate difficult conditions like drought, flooding, salt, and compaction. Additionally, it attracts bird species as well as butterfly species such as Eastern Tiger, Swallowtail, and Mourning Cloak.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Drought Tolerant
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 30m