General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 40 - 50 feet
Plant Spread: 30 - 40 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Other: little brown capsules release cottony seed
Fruiting Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Time: Spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Sow in situ
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Swamp Cottonwood
  • Downy Poplar
  • River Cottonwood
  • Black Cottonwood
  • Swamp Poplar

Photo Gallery
Location: Denver Metro CO
Date: 2014-06-09
The seeds are just starting to emerge from the seed pods, spreadi
Location: Natural Wetlands in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-03
These Specimens Less Than 25 Years Old
Location: Morton Arboretum on west side, in Lisle, IL
Date: 2016-07-18
maturing planted trees
Location: Morton Arboretum west side in Lisle, IL
Date: 2016-07-18
mature trunk with bark
Location: Denver Metro CO
Date: 2014-05-29
Before these pods open up & spit out the white cottony seeds ever

Date: c.1865
illustration by Bessa from Michaux's 'The North American Sylva',
Location: Natural Wetlands in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-03
Showing Poplar Rust - Common Among This Species
Location: Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois
Date: 2016-07-18
summer leaves
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2016-07-18
summer foliage
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2016-07-18
Location: Denver Metro CO
Date: 2012-04-12
Wild poplar growing at my work
Location: Denver Metro CO
Date: 2014-10-27
Neighbor's cottonwood tree in the early morning autumn light
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 7, 2018 8:57 PM concerning plant:
    This Swamp Cottonwood is an uncommon tree species. It grows in swamps and bottomlands in a strange native range that starts along coastal Connecticut & southeast New York and goes down the Atlantic Coast to just barely into Georgia, then some spots in northwest Florida, then along the Mississippi River from Louisiana into southern Illinois, then southwest Indiana, then spots in northern & central Indiana and Ohio, and a few spots in far south Michigan. Its favored sites in the wild have wet soil that is acid of pH 4.5 to 6.0 with a good amount of clay in it, but it is adaptable to a number of soils with a pH that is neutral and mesic in uplands, where I found three trees planted on the west side of Morton Arboretum in the Willow Family Collection. It grows in more waterlogged soils than the much more common Eastern Cottonwood.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
id? by KentPfeiffer May 11, 2018 1:00 AM 1

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