Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Populus heterophylla L.
- Family: Willow (Salicaceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: The leaves of this species are finely toothed and rounded at the tip. The leaf stalks are more or less terete.
- Habitat: Swamps, low woods.
- Habit: Tree to 90 feet tall, with a trunk diameter up to 2 feet; crown very irregular, with a few large, upright branches; bark gray or brown, smooth when young, becoming scaly and ridged at maturity.
- Twigs: Rather stout, smooth or hairy, reddish; leaf scars alternate, 3-lobed, each with 3 bundle traces; buds ovoid, pointed, dark brown, sticky, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate, rounded at the tip, heart-shaped at the base, up to 8 inches long, up to 6 inches wide, with fine rounded teeth along the edges, green on the upper surface, paler on the lower surface, densely white-woolly when young, becoming smooth at maturity; leaf stalks terete, smooth or sparsely hairy, up to 4 inches long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in drooping spikes on separate trees before the leaves unfold, the male crowded into thick spikes up to 4 inches long, the female crowded into slender spikes up to 6 inches long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Up to 60, hairy, borne on a disk.
- Pistils: Solitary, borne on a disk.
- Fruits: Capsules ovoid, reddish brown, up to 1/2 inch long, grouped into elongated clusters; seeds numerous, with cottony hairs attached.
- Notes: The soft wood is used for pulp, fuel, and interior finishing.
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