Trees of Big Sur and the Santa Lucia Mountains of Central California

Fremont Cottonwood Populus fremontii

Fremont Cottonwood occur on the inland side of the Santa Lucia range. This deciduous tree is found in riparian habitats or where there is surface water near by. In this region, a medium sized tree, they grow from 30-70 feet tall, while in other areas they grow to a much larger tree. Many of the small groves of Fremont Cottonwood burned in the fire of 2008 so I have few good photos of this tree. More to come!

Fremont CottonwoodA Young Fremont Cottonwood after a recent fire.

Fremont Cottonwood leavesLeaves of the Fremont Cottonwood are heart-shaped, have rounded teeth, often as wide as they are long, and the same shade of green on both the top and underside. The leaves are attached to branches loosely and flutter in the wind.

Fremont Cottonwood leaves


The bark of the young trees and upper limbs of older trees are smooth whitish-gray. Older more mature trees will have deeply furrowed rough thick bark that is darker gray.

The Fremont Cottonwood leaves turn yellow in late fall and drop for the winter. .

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