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Edible uses


Inner bark[1][2][3][4]. A mucilaginous texture, it is usually harvested in the spring[4]. There are no more details but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread.

Seeds[1][2][3]. No more details are given but they are very small and would be exceedingly fiddly to collect and use. Sap - used for food[4]. Buds[1][2][3]. No more details are given.

The leaves are rich in protein and have a greater amino-acid content than wheat, corn, rice and barley[5]. A concentrate made from them is as nourishing as meat, but can be produced faster and more cheaply[5]. Some people believe that this will become a major food source for humans[5].

Inner bark


Material uses

An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day[6].

Various dyes can be obtained from the leaf buds in the spring - green, white, yellow, purple and red have been mentioned[4]. Trees are planted for dune fixing in erosion control programmes[7][8]. They are also good pioneer species, growing quickly to provide a good habitat for other woodland trees and eventually being out-competed by those trees[9]. A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[10][11]. Another report says that it is easily storm-damaged[8]. The wood has been used as a bio-mass for producing methanol, which can be used to power internal combustion engines[5]. Annual yields of 7 tonnes of oven-dry material per year have been achieved[11].

Wood - weak, soft, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion but warps and shrinks badly[12][7][13][8]. It weighs 24lb per cubic foot[14]. The wood takes paint well, is easy to glue and nail[8]. It is used principally for lumber, pulp, crates, veneer etc[12][7][13].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark contains salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body[15][16]. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps[16]. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of whooping cough and tuberculosis[4]. A decoction of the bark has been used to rid the body of intestinal worms[4]. The bark has been eaten as a treatment for colds[4].

A tea made from the inner bark is used in the treatment of scurvy[15]. The inner bark, combined with black haw bark (Crataegus douglasii) and wild plum bark (Prunus spp) has been used as a female tonic[15][4].

A poultice of the leaves has been used as a treatment for rheumatism, bruises, sores and boils[4].


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions



Earth stabiliser


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring[17]. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening[10]. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the old frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing[12].

Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 20 - 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy.

Suckers in early spring[18].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Populus deltoides. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil[19][11] but thrives best on moist well-drained, fine sandy loams or silts close to streams[11]. Prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain[12][10]. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils[12]. It does not do well in exposed upland sites[12]. It dislikes shade and is intolerant of root or branch competition[10]. Tolerates both hot and cool summers[10]. Fairly wind-tolerant[10]. The tree is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 60 to 150cm, an annual temperature in the range of 8 to 14°C, and a pH of 4.5 to 8[11].

A fast-growing but short-lived tree[8][9][20]. It can make new shoots up to 1.5 metres long each year[20] and is often planted for timber in Europe[21]. It does have drawbacks, though, since it is easily storm-damaged, is easily damaged by fire when young and is much attacked by fungi[8]. Like the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) the leaves of this species rustle even in light breezes[20]. The trees can be coppiced[7], sprouting freely from the base of the trunk and the roots if they are cut down[8]. Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building's foundations by drying out the soil[12]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[10].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Populus deltoides. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Populus deltoides.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Populus deltoides
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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  1. ? Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  2. ? Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  3. ? Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  5. ? Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
  7. ? Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-78958-3 (1987-00-00)
  8. ? Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
  9. ? Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
  10. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  11. ? Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
  12. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  13. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
  15. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  16. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  17. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  18. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  19. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  20. ? Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
  21. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
  22. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
  23. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-60

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Facts about "Populus deltoides"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familySalicaceae +
Belongs to genusPopulus +
Functions asPioneer +, Windbreak + and Earth stabiliser +
Has common nameEastern Cottonwood +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partInner bark +, Leaves + and Seeds +
Has edible useUnknown use +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeSelf sterile + and Wind +
Has flowers of typeDioecious +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone2 +
Has imageLoneCottonwood--b-w-web.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useBiomass +, Dye +, Rooting hormone + and Wood +
Has mature height30 +
Has mature width20 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAnodyne +, Anthelmintic +, Antiinflammatory +, Antiscorbutic +, Blood purifier +, Febrifuge +, Poultice + and Tonic +
Has primary imageLoneCottonwood--b-w-web.jpg +
Has search namepopulus deltoides + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy namePopulus deltoides +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +