Cottonwood Tree Names, Pictures and Types of Cottonwood Species

Pictures of Cottonwood Trees
Plains Cottonwood Tree (Populus deltoides  subsp. monilifera)
Picture of a Eastern Cottonwood tree
(Populus deltoides)

Tree species that are commonly known in North America as Cottonwoods, are species belonging to the genus Populus, section Aigeiros. This section comprises of three species, Populus deltoides, Populus fremontii and Populus nigra. Previously, as many as six species were recognized, but advances in botanical classification science (Using Tree DNA), have shown that there are three species, and the others are subspecies of Populus deltoides. See Cottonwood species in bold in the table below.

There are other trees known as Cottonwood, that are not part of the Aigeiros Section, however they are a species of Populus, see table below.

Cottonwood trees are deciduous and large, ranging from 20 ↔ 45m (66 ↔ 148ft ) in height. They have broad trunks with thick, deeply fissured bark and triangular or diamond shaped leaves that are green on both sides. The Cottonwood seeds are attached to structures that resemble tufts of cotton and this allows the seeds to spread over long distances in the wind before settling to ground.

Facts about Cottonwood Trees of the Populus Genus
  • Genus Latin Scientific Name = Populus.
  • Genus Latin Name Pronunciation: POP-yoo-lus
  • Genus Latin Name Meaning: Latin for a group of people, nation, civilians, region, multitude of.
  • Species Common Names = Cottonwood.
List of Populus species known as Cottonwood Trees, organized by Latin botanical name first and common names second
List of Populus Species known as Cottonwoods
Botanical Tree NameCommon Tree Name
Populus ×acuminata Lanceleaf Cottonwood (A Hybrid)
Populus angustifolia Narrowleaf Cottonwood, Willow-leaved Poplar
Populus deltoides Eastern Cottonwood, Match Poplar
Populus deltoides ssp. deltoidesEastern Cottonwood, Southern Cottonwood, Eastern poplar, Necklace poplar, (German; Karolina-Pappel, Virginische Pappel), (French; Cotonier)
Populus deltoides ssp. moniliferaPlains Cottonwood, Plains Poplar
Populus deltoides ssp. occidentalisGreat Plains Cottonwood, Plains Cottonwood
Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni Rio Grande Cottonwood, (Spanish; álamillo, álamo)
Populus fremontii Fremont Cottonwood, Alamo Cottonwood, (Spanish; álamo)
Populus hastata Black Cottonwood
Populus heterophylla Swamp Cottonwood, River Cottonwood, Downy Poplar, Swamp Poplar, or Black Cottonwood
Populus nigra Black Cottonwood, Black Poplar, Lombardy's Poplar
Populus parryi Parry's Cottonwood, Parry's Poplar
Populus trichocarpaBlack Cottonwood, Western Balsam Poplar

List of Tree Names last up-dated on

Cottonwood Uses;

Pictures of old Cottonwood trees planted in Sheridan Wyoming, USA

Sheridan Inn Cottonwood Trees, Wyoming

Photo of The Sheridan Inn (Wyoming), 1960's, Showing Cottonwood Trees planted in the late 1890's a few years after it was built. The trees are about 60 - 70 years old in this picture.

Some of the Cottonwood trees in front of the Sheridan Inn became diseased, here is a Photo of them before they were removed (1980's). The trees are about 80 - 90 years old.

Sheridan Inn Cottonwood Trees 2003

Here is a Photo (2003) of the remaining original Cottonwood Trees before they were removed. The remaining trees are over 100 years old.

During 2005 - 2009 the remaining original Cottonwood trees were removed from the lot on which the Sheridan Inn sits, and new young Cottonwood trees were planted in similar locations of the old trees.

Cottonwoods as ornamental trees;

Cottonwood trees were used as street trees in the growing settlements of the mid-west region of the United States about 40 to 100 years ago. They were used because of their fast growth rate, to provide shade, and they took little care after planting. Ultimately many of these trees became too large and some have been removed.

Certain Cottonwood species, hybrids and cultivars are still used today for ornamental landscaping trees. Cottonwood trees are also planted for screens and shelterbelts. Many of the cottonwoods grown commercially are the hybrid of eastern cottonwood and black poplar known as Hybrid black poplar or Carolina Poplar, (Populus × canadensis).

Cottonwoods in Timber Production;

Cottonwoods are also grown for timber production, as their exceptional growth rate provides a large crop of wood within just 10 ↔ 30 years. The wood is fibrous and soft, in fact it is one of the softest hardwoods native to North America. Due to its softness, uses for the wood are limited to pallet boxes, shipping crates, and other temporary products where a cheap, sort-lived wood is suitable.

Cottonwood as Firewood;

Wood from Cottonwood trees is an inefficient wood fuel for firewood, due to its low density and high water content, making it rot quickly and hard to dry. Cottonwood is difficult to split for firewood because it is very fibrous, and it produces a low level of energy per unit of volume of wood compared to other hardwood species.