Populus fremontii, Fremont Cottonwood
Scientific Name: Populus fremontii
Common Name: Fremont Cottonwood
Also Called: Alamo Cottonwood, Arizona Cottonwood, Cottonwood, Fremont's Cottonwood, (Spanish: Álamo)
Family: Salicaceae or Willow Family
Synonyms: (Populus macdougallii)
Size: Often up to 50 feet although may reach as high as 90 feet under ideal conditions.
Growth Form: Tree, large fast growing riparian tree; trunk diameter of 4 feet not uncommon; dioecious; twigs yellowish, large main branches, top or crown of tree wide and flat-topped, older bark gray-brown and deeply furrowed, winter buds resinous.
Leaves: Green, bluish-green; variable across range and sub-species, deciduous; leaves cordate to sub-cordate; leaves with petiole; margins scalloped; prominent white lined leaf veins; leaves turning yellow in fall.
Flower Color: Green or yellowish-green; inconspicuous.
Flowering Season: February to May; March to April in California.
Elevation: Up to 6,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Thrives in riparian areas such as rivers, streams, perennial washes, often grows in pure stands or may be the dominant or co-dominant species with Gooding Willow and other primary riparian species such as Black Cottonwood, Salix sp., Walnut, and Velvet Ash.
Recorded Range: Fremont's Cottonwood is found in the Southwestern United States in AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, TX and UT. In Arizona it is found almost throughout the state with few or no records in Apache county.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Populus fremontii.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: In North America Populus fremontii has the following wetland designations: Top Level Regions - Lower 48 States, FACW; North America, FACW.
FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
In the Southwestern United States, Arizona there are 5 species of Populus, in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas each have 6 species and Utah has 7 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
There are 2 sub-species in Populus fremontii;
Populus fremontii subsp. fremontii, Fremont Cottonwood, (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT);
Populus fremontii subsp. mesetae, Fremont Cottonwood, (AZ, TX).
Comments: Fremont Cottonwood is common in southwestern United States deserts where it is found along streams commonly with Arizona Walnut (Juglans major), Goodding's Willow, Salix gooddingii and Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii).
Populus fremontii, along with co-dominant willow trees, provides important habitat for a wide variety of birds and many other dessert and riparian dwelling species in the Southwestern United States. Fremont's Cottonwood is a conspicuous and important riparian species that provides significant perches and nesting habitat for large and small birds and provides cover and shade for a host of mammals, including deer, squirrels, raccoons, ring-tails, beavers and an assortment of rodents.
Populus fremontii may hybridize with Narrowleaf- and Black- Cottonwood, however, the 2 species overlap with each other apparently without hybridization.
Fremont's Cottonwood named in honor of John Charles Fremont (1813-1890).
For a comprehensive thoroughly documented review of Populus fremontii see the USDA USFS Fire Effects Information System, or FEIS.
Populus fremontii has been used for a variety of uses by Southwestern American indigenous peoples.
Cahuilla Drug, Analgesic, Infusion of bark and leaves used to wet a handkerchief and tie it around the head for headaches.
Diegueno Drug, Dermatological Aid, Infusion of leaves used as a wash or poultice of leaves applied to bruises, wounds or insect stings.
Havasupai Fiber, Building Material, Wood used for fence posts and in the construction of shades and houses.
Mendocino Indian Drug, Dermatological Aid, Decoction of bark used as a wash for bruises and cuts.
Pima Drug, Dermatological Aid, Decoction of plant used as a wash for sores.
Yuki Drug, Cold Remedy, Infusion of bark or leaves taken for colds.
Yuki Drug, Dermatological Aid, Infusion of bark or leaves taken for cuts and sores.
See all ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.