Cottonwood trees doing their thing

I had the impression Sunday afternoon that the city’s cottonwood trees were doing their fluff thing this weekend, because I was in a café where fluffballs kept drifting in through the windows. A friend asked me to post about them so she could point to a blog entry, so here it is.

The eastern cottonwood, Populus deltoides, is a fast-growing tree native to this area that pops up readily in empty lots and can get very, very tall. The tree is dioecious, meaning each individual tree is gendered. The male trees had their catkins a few weeks ago; the females are now putting out fluff. A big female cottonwood, or a group of them, can generate a lot of fluff.

P1030252The tallest trees in Montreal are mostly cottonwoods. At left is an example in a tiny park in Mile Ex and on Google Streetview you can glimpse a couple of mondo ones behind a CHSLD in Villeray.

There are also a few notably huge ones in Lafontaine Park.

Friends live across the street from a big cottonwood. When there’s wind, the leaves rattle quite noticeably and it can sound like rain.