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Black Cottonwood

Populus trichocarpa • Western Balsam Poplar


Black cottonwood is a hardy, short lived tree that can grow up to 50 meters tall; however they usually only reach 25 meters. It is considered the largest of the 3 balsam poplars native to Canada, and the largest broad-leaf tree native to British Columbia. Black cottonwood grows west of the Rocky Mountains and balsam poplar grows in the north, from the upper Stikine to east of the Rockies. Black cottonwood and balsam poplar often hybridize when their ranges overlap.


Broadly ovate, 7-12 cm long, pointed appex and base usually rounded; sometimes wedge- or slightly heart-shaped; upper surface dark green, silvery-green beneath, usually stained with brownish resin blotches, mostly hairless.


Smooth, grayish-green or yellowish-gray when young; becoming dark grayish-brown, separated into flat-topped ridges by irregular V-shaped furrows.


Mature seed catkins 12-15 cm long, hairy, bearing many closely spaced capsules.

186 Trees

Heritage Tree

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