Today’s Tree: Poplar – Populus
As there are 35 species of Poplar closely related to the Cottonwood and 4 of those species reside in Washington State, I do not want to choose incorrectly. I believe it is a Populus trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood) or Populus nigra (Black Poplar) but not 100% certain which.
All I know is this tree called to me across four lanes of traffic, and I had to stop and take some photos. Clearly it is ancient! As I stood next to its trunk, the smell brought back many childhood memories of New Mexico along the Rio Grande River where cottonwoods thrive. They love riverbanks and estuaries and famously produce masses of wind-borne cottony fluff each spring as a method of fostering the next generations.
Looking up, its quaking leaves sound like the aspen among the same species.
Grand branch networks are shelter for many birds and bugs.
I waved in my rear-view mirror as I drove across the farmland of Skagit Valley toward my hiking destination this fine fall day.
In related news, the Lombardy Poplars (a type of Black Poplar) of Seattle are succumbing to disease. I hope these ancients in Skagit Valley are a more hardy variety and remain waving to the clouds a good long time.