Cottonwood or Populus trichocarpa Black Cottonwood

Populus trichocarpa

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Populus trichocarpa, the black cottonwood, western balsam-poplar or California poplar, is a deciduous broadleaf tree species native to western North America. It is used for timber, and is notable as a model organism in plant biology. Its full genome sequence was published in 2006. It is the first tree species to be sequenced.

Scientific classification:
Kingdom:     Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order:          Malpighiales
Family:         Salicaceae
Genus:         Populus
Section:       Tacamahaca
Species:       P. trichocarpa
Binomial name: Populus trichocarpa

Description:

It is a large tree, growing to a height of 30 metres (98 ft) to 50 metres (160 ft) and a trunk diameter of over 2 metres (6.6 ft), which makes it the largest poplar species in the Americas. It is normally fairly short-lived, but some trees may live for up to 400 years (Forbes 2006). A cottonwood in Willamette Mission State Park near Salem, Oregon holds the national and world records. Last measured in April, 2008 this black cottonwood was found to be standing at 155 ft (47 m) tall, 29 ft (8.8 m) around, with 527 points.

The bark is grey and covered with lenticels, becoming thick and deeply fissured on old trees. The bark can become hard enough to cause sparks when cut with a chainsaw.The stem is grey in the older parts and light brown in younger parts. The crown is usually roughly conical and quite dense. In large trees the lower branches droop downwards. Spur shoots are common. The wood has a light coloring and a straight grain.

The leaves are 7–20 cm long with a glossy dark green upper side and glaucous light grey-green underside; larger leaves, up to 30 cm long, may be produced on stump sprouts and very vigorous young trees. The leaves are alternate, elliptic with a crenate margin and an acute tip, and reticulate venation (see leaf terminology). The petiole is reddish. The buds are conical, long, narrow and sticky, with a strong balsam scent in spring when they open.

Populus trichocarpa has an extensive and aggressive root system, which can invade and damage drainage systems. Sometimes the roots can even damage the foundations of buildings by drying out the soil.

Uses:

Lumber:

Populus trichocarpa wood is light-weight and although not particularly strong, is strong for its weight. The wood material has short, fine cellulose fibres which are used in the production of high-quality book and magazine paper. The wood is also excellent for production of plywood. Living trees are used as windbreaks.

Populus trichocarpa grows very quickly; trees in plantations in Great Britain have reached 18 m (59 ft) tall in 11 years, and 34 m (112 ft) tall in 28 years (Mitchell 1996). It can reach suitable size for pulp production in 10–15 years and about 25 years for timber production.

Medicinal:

Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest used P. trichocarpa for a variety of purposes. The inner bark was sometimes eaten but most of its uses were medicinal or practical. Because of its salicin content it was often used raw or in salves to treat a number of ailments including baldness, tuberculosis, rheumatism, and treating wounds. The wood, roots and bark were used for firewood, canoe making, rope, fish traps, baskets and structures. The gum-like sap was even used as a glue or as waterproofing.

Commercial extracts are produced from the fragrant buds for use as a perfume in medicines and cosmetics.

‘Populus trichocarpa contains salicin, and has been used medicinally as an antipyretic, analgesic and to control inflammation.


Bibliographic details for “Populus trichocarpa”
Page name: Populus trichocarpa
Author: Wikipedia contributors
Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Date of last revision: 25 April 2017 07:29 UTC
Date retrieved: 26 April 2017 18:35 UTC
Permanent link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Populus_trichocarpa&oldid=777104615
Primary contributors: Revision history statistics
Page Version ID: 777104615