Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Populus deltoides W. Bartram ex Marshall
- Family: Willow (Salicaceae)
- Flowering: March-April
- Field Marks: This species is recognized by its triangular leaves with coarse, rounded teeth
and its flattened leaf stalks.
- Habitat: Bottomland woods, along rivers and streams, in strip-mined areas.
- Habit: Rapidly growing tree to 100 feet tall, with a trunk diameter up to 8 feet; crown spreading to broadly rounded, with some drooping branches; bark smooth and gray when young, becoming furrowed at maturity.
- Twigs: Yellow-green, gray, or tan, smooth, moderately stout, with numerous pale lenticels; leaf scars alternate, triangular, with 3 large bundle traces; buds lanceoloid, long-pointed, up to 1/2 inch long, sticky, chestnut-colored.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, triangular, abruptly pointed at the tip, cut straight across or even slightly heart-shaped at the base, with coarse, rounded teeth along the edges, up to 5 inches long, often nearly as broad, green, smooth, and shiny on the upper surface, paler on the lower surface; leaf stalks flattened, smooth, up to 4 inches long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in drooping spikes on separate trees before the leaves unfold, the male crowded into rather thick, reddish spikes, the female crowded into narrower, greenish yellow spikes.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Up to 60, hairy, attached to a disk.
- Pistils: Solitary, attached to a disk.
- Fruits: Capsules ellipsoid, greenish brown, up to 1/4 inch long, grouped in elongated clusters; seeds numerous, with cottony hairs attached.
- Notes: The soft wood is used for pulp and fuel. The twigs are browsed upon by deer, while the bark and buds are eaten by beavers.
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