Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera
Common: Plains Cottonwood
Botanical: Populus monilifera, Populus sargentii
- North central Texas northward to NE North Dakota
- NE North Dakota westward to north central Montana
- North central Montana southward to south central Colorado
- Central Colorado southeastward to north central Texas
There is some disagreement as to the eastern border of the range of this tree because of the status and distinctness of the closely related eastern cottonwood. Western cottonwood, also well known as the plains cottonwood, releases rather large amounts of wind-borne pollen from male catkins in the spring. The name “cottonwood” refers to the fluffy down that is attached to the seeds, produced in the spring soon after pollination. This tree, which grows rapidly, is typically found on the floodplains of rivers and streams, but is sometimes cultivated, and it extends far westward along streams while being absent from the intervening upland areas. The grayish bark usually has distinct ridges, and the shiny leaves are broadly triangular with small teeth along the margins.