Cottonwood

Kurt Elieson

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First Class requirement #6: Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your community.

Cottonwoods have large, light-colored, spade-shaped leaves. They grow a lot of leaves in the spring. Some of these pictures show very few leaves because they were taken at the end of summer. When the summer heat hits Dallas-Fort Worth, the cottonwoods can drop half their leaves in order to slow down evaporation and preserve their moisture.

Cottonwoods grow very fast because they make very soft wood. So where tree growth is new, you will often see cottonwoods sticking up above the tops of other trees.

Click on the pictures to see them up close.

Cottonwood branches are often almost white. So it is no surprise that they are related to poplars and aspens.

Cottonwoods are most likely to be confused with sycamores. The last picture on this page is a sycamore to show the differences. Sycamore leaves are more divided into sections than cottonwood leaves. And on big sycamores the bark is shaggy, while on big cottonwoods the bark instead has ridges.

Page last updated 2011.11.07