by Crystal Cockman
November 22, 2017
While walking a property the other week, we stumbled upon a tree with some heavily furrowed bark. It took a few minutes of pondering, but we finally decided it was a cottonwood tree, and a pretty large one. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) is a widespread deciduous native found along sandy riverbanks and in bottomlands, which is exactly where we found this one, near the banks of the Uwharrie River. In North Carolina it is generally uncommon to occasional.
The Eastern Cottonwood has smooth, toothed, pointed, deltoid (triangular) leaves that are not similar to other tree species in the state, other than the Swamp cottonwood found in the coastal plain. They are the fastest growing commercial forest species in North America, however they are not very long-lived, living only on average 70 to 100 years. Eastern cottonwood is also one of the taller species in eastern forests, reaching heights of up to 120 feet and diameters of 4 to 6 feet. It is in the poplar family, but yellowish twigs, coarsely toothed leaves and gummy end buds distinguish this from the other poplars. It is also sometimes called the “necklace poplar.” It is native from eastern North America through the Great Plains. [Read more…]