The Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), is a native tree of North America, that grows in the east, centre and south of the United States, and also in the southern part of Canada and the north of Mexico.
Populus is the old Latin name of poplar. Deltoides alludes to the triangular or deltoid shape of its leaves.
Normally, this tree is able to live from 70 to 100 years. It presents a straight trunk with simple, alternate, broadly lanceolate leaves with an acute apex and long petioles. It is a dioecious tree, that is, the male flowers are in one tree and the female flowers in another.
These trees are planted to fix dunes in erosion control programs. They are also good as pioneer species, since they grow rapidly and thus provide a good habitat for the introduction of other trees.
Its wood is soft and porous so it can be used in light carpentry or decoration, is not usually used as firewood due to its low quality. Its bark has a large amount of tannins, gallic acid, malic acid and salicin, which give it medicinal properties.
Some varieties of this tree have become scarce in recent years, such as the subspecies betulifolia of England and Ireland, of which it is estimated that only 7,000 remain.