Populus fremontii S.Watson

The cottonwood, the tree of streams and rivers in the west. It also occurs in seemingly improbable places, like at White Sands, where it is living proof of the water-holding capacities of sand (well, more precisely of sand that is perched over fairly impermeably clay). Although ubiquitous, taxonomy of this species is unsettled. The names Populus fremontii, Populus deltoides, and Populus wislizeni (and various combinations of the above, e.g., Populus deltoides subsp. wislizeni) all float around the literature but so far as I can tell there is no coherent, solidly justified treatment that makes sense of the situation.

Plant habit at White Sands National Monument, Otero County, New Mexico, 26 Jun 2005. This tree is 10-15 feet high, they are usually much taller off of the sands.

Leaves at White Sands, 26 Jul 2005.

A branch with immature fruits at Aguirre Spring, northeastern side of the Organ Mountains, Doña Ana County, New Mexico, 2 Apr 2011.

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