Selected Plants of Navajo Rangelands

Take care of our Navajo Rangelands

Fremont cottonwood
(a.k.a. Rio Grande cottonwood, Valley cottonwood)

Pattern of branches and foliage

Fremont cottonwood is a native tree growing in riparian areas near streams, rivers, and wetlands. Its height ranges from 40 to 115 feet, and trunk diameter ranges from 1 to 4 feet. The bark is smooth in younger trees, becoming deeply furrowed with whitish, cracked bark with age. The trees bloom from March to April. The wind-dispersed fruit is attached to silky hairs, which gives the appearance of patches of cotton hanging from the limbs, thus the name "cottonwood."

Cottonwood leaves have been used for soothing poultices. Its inner bark provides a source of Vitamin C. Cottonwood often grow from multiple large, spreading trunks.

Growth habit and silhouette of a tall specimen
Riparian habitat
Small, green, immature fruits hanging in small clusters
Characteristic cordate (heart-shaped) leaves with crenate (toothed) margins
Growth habit of a specimen in sand dune habitat

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