National Champion Eastern Cottonwood, Alum Creek State Park, Ohio


eastern cottonwood

National Champion Eastern Cottonwood, Alum Creek State Park, Ohio

My friend showed me this monster. It was tucked away by the side of the road. The tree has a circumference of 370 inches (that’s about 31 feet), a height of 136 feet and a crown spread of 135 feet.

National Champion Eastern Cottonwood, Alum Creek State Park, Ohio“Populus deltoides is a large tree growing to 20–40 m (66–131 ft) tall and with a trunk up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) diameter, one of the largest North American hardwood trees. The bark is silvery-white, smooth or lightly fissured when young, becoming dark gray and deeply fissured on old trees. The twigs are grayish-yellow and stout, with large triangular leaf scars. The winter buds are slender, pointed, 1–2 cm long (.039–0.79 inches), yellowish brown, and resinous. It is one of the fastest growing trees in North America. In Mississippi River bottoms, height growth of 10–15 ft per year for a few years have been seen. Sustained height growth of 5 foot height growth and 1 inch diameter growth per year for 25 years is common.

The leaves are large, deltoid (triangular), 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) long and 4–11 cm (1.6–4.3 in) broad with a truncated (flattened) base and a petiole 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long. The leaf is very coarsely toothed, the teeth are curved and gland tipped, and the petiole is flat; they are dark green in the summer and turn yellow in the fall (but many cottonwoods in dry locations drop their leaves early from the combination of drought and leaf rust, making their fall color dull or absent). Due to the flat stem of the leaf, the leaf has the tendency to shake from even the slightest breeze. This is one of the identifying characteristics.[3]

It is dioecious, with the flowers (catkins) produced on single-sex trees in early spring. The male (pollen) catkins are reddish-purple and 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in) long; the female catkins are green, 7–13 cm (2.8–5.1 in) long at pollination, maturing 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long with several 6–15 mm (0.24–0.59 in) seed capsules in early summer, which split open to release the numerous small seeds attached to cotton-like strands.”