Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa

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Species Name: Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa
Common Name: Black Cottonwood

A large fast-growing tree that would be suitable in a watered area. Fall foliage is yellow. Cottonwoods can have thirsty and invasive root systems, so beware when planting near pipes and structures.

Plant Family: Salicaceae
Plant Type: Tree
Height by Width: 100' H x 10-15' W
Growth Habit: Upright, spreading
Deciduous/Evergreen: Winter deciduous
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
Soil Preference: Well-draining
Water Requirements: Regular
Cold Hardy to: 15 degrees F
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color:
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Throughout California, Great Basin, Northern Baja
Natural Habitat: Along streams below 6,000'

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Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "One of the most beautiful of all the deciduous trees. A medium sized tree with broad head of upright branches. The bark is grayish often with a yellowish cast and deeply furrowed in age. The leaves are large, deep rich green above, whitish or silvery beneath. Of rapid growth. makes a splendid shade tree and will thrive in any location with a fair amount of water. Gallon cans, 50c; 5 gallon cans, $1.50."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.