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Dean S. DeBell
Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) is the largest of the American poplars and the largest hardwood tree in western North America. Known also as balsam cottonwood, western balsam poplar, and California poplar, it grows primarily on moist sites west of the Rocky Mountains. The most productive sites are the bottom lands of major streams and rivers west of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest. Pure stands may form on alluvial soils. Black cottonwood is harvested and used for lumber, veneer, and fiber products. Many kinds of wildlife use the foliage, twigs, and buds for food, and the tree is planted for shade and in windbreaks and shelterbelts.