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Black Cottonwood · Populus trichocarpa
Description: This large deciduous broadleaved tree is common throughout the Columbia River watershed. It thrives along streams from Alaska to California, and reaches heights of 100-200 ft., with a diameter up to 6 ft. Its leaves are deep green on top, silver on the bottom, 3 to 7" long, 3 to 4" wide, tapering to a sharp tip. Fragrant buds in spring are followed by male and female flowers, April to June (on separate trees) and lots of cottony seeds. Male flowers are arranged in catkins up to 1" long, female flowers in catkins 3 to 8". Sun, regular water.
From the Journals of Lewis and Clark: A specimen of Black Cottonwood was collected by Lewis and Clark in June 1806, and they recorded its description "The leaf of the cottonwood on this river [referring to a tributary of the Columbia] narrower than that common to the lower part of the Missouri and Mississippi [the plains cottonwood] and wider than that on the upper part of the Missouri [narrow-leaved cottonwood]."