Cottonwood (genus Populus), is composed of 35 species which contain the aspens and poplars. Of this species, 25 are native to Eurasia/North Africa, 2 species from Central America, 8 species from North America. All species look alike microscopically. The word Populus is the classical Latin name for the Poplar tree.

The sapwood of cottonwood is white, while the heartwood is light brown to brown. The wood is generally straight-grained and contains few defects. Cottonwood is a true poplar and therefore has similar characteristics and properties to aspen.


Most of North America, with Popuus deltoids in the eastern to Midwest United States and Populus trichocarpa in the western United States.

Working Properties

General machinability is fair, although tension wood is frequently present, causing a fuzzy surface when cut. The wood glues well and has good resistance to splitting when nailing and screwing. It holds and paints well. It dries easily but may still have a tendency to warp, with slight movement in performance.

Physical Properties

The wood is weak in bending and compression, soft, and low in shock resistance It has a sour odor when wet, but no characteristic odor or taste when dry.


Furniture, lumber, moldings, trim, wooden ware, cutting boards, food containers, pulpwood, agricultural implements.