and Deciduous Forest Trees
of Southern Ontario

Eastern Cottonwood
Populus Deltoides

Location in Ontario: Eastern Cottonwood grows in the Deciduous Forest Region and along part of the St. Lawrence River.

Young Cottonwood, Long Point, Norfolk County

Genus Populus: Poplars are fast growing trees with soft wood. The leaves are simple. Flowers are mostly dioecious and appear in early spring. Poplars are pioneer species which grow in a newly opened areas such as after a fire or when land is cleared. Some are successional trees along sand dunes.

Habitat: Eastern Cottonwood grow in any open area.

Landscape Use: Eastern Cottonwood is occasionally seen as a landscape tree. It is a fast growing tree that produces an abundance of "cotton" in the spring. Eastern Cottonwood should not be planted near water lines, septic systems etc. since it produces many spreading roots.

Eastern Cottonwood is a common successional tree along sand dunes.

Eastern Cottonwood leaves are simple, with a triangular shape edged with fine teeth.


Flowers: Poplars are dioecious, male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers occur on different trees. Flowers are in catkins, and appear in the early spring.

Fruit: The seeds are found in long catkins produced in the late spring. Each seed has a tuft of silky white hairs (cotton). Seeds produce seedlings easily and quickly, provided there is enough moisture. Seeds are produced every year, after 10 years of growth.

Bark: The bark is dark gray and deeply furrowed.

Size: This is a large tree growing to 30 metres.

Wood: Poplar wood is light and soft.
Specific gravity: 0.40
Janka Hardness:
430 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Large Eastern Cottonwood, Rondeau Provinicial Park