Nov 16, 2010

populus deltoides

What is Populus deltoides you ask?  Well, it's the Latin name for the Cottonwood Tree, which also happens to be the State Tree of Kansas.  And why am I using Latin?  Well, how often do I get a chance to use my limited knowledge of Latin I learned in college?  Not very often.  :) 

Many people might disagree with me, but I find cottonwoods to be beautiful trees. They are not an ornamental tree to place in your front yard or display in a botanical garden, but across the Kansas landscape they are spectacular.  The leaves are a gorgeous green, and they shimmer in the wind.  And when the Kansas winds blow, the leaves shake and make the most wonderful rustling sound.  In the fall, the leaves turn a lovely color of yellow and sparkle in the sunlight.  A little difficult to capture in a picture (at least with my camera), but I did attempt to this afternoon.

Ben woke from his nap a little early, so we hopped in the car with juice, pretzels and jackets, and headed for a drive in the country.  Standing outside, listening to the leaves move in the wind, and watching the last of the yellow leaves shimmer before falling to the ground was truly peaceful.


It's also appropriate that I'm writing about cottonwood trees because they helped me create my shop name - the cotton tree.  I have lived in Kansas my whole life, and I love it.  But it's taken me a while to realize that.  In fact, as a teenager my plan was to be a successful architect on the east coast.  Obviously that isn't the path I have taken!  When I decided to open an Etsy shop last year, I was having a tough time coming up with a name that I liked and wasn't already taken.  I wanted a name that meant something to me and represented the products I was making and selling.  Eventually I decided upon the cotton tree.  It was everything I loved - sewing with cotton fabrics, living in Kansas, enjoying the outdoors, and living in a small town - simply put.  And guess what?  The name was available.  Perfect! 

I hope to continue to share more about me, my shop and the blog in the future.  
It's fun to share a little "history".


  1. OH! I also LOVE cottonwoods. The trunks are my favorite!

  2. this was so fun to read. loved to hear a little bit about kansas and about the cotton tree's name!

  3. Thanks so much for your straightforward and elegant description of cottonwood trees and the way you have come to love your own place. And, LOVE the tree Latin. My fave of the variant subspecies--fun to say out loud--is the botanical name for the Plains (Western) cottonwood: Populus deltoides Bartram ex. Marsh (for the botanists who identified it)subspecies monilifera (a really fun word to pronounce!)(Aiton) Eckenwalder (more botanists). Whew!

    You make SUCH a good point about cottonwoods NOT being ornamentals. They're wild trees!

    I featured several Kansas cottonwood stories in my book...among my favorites, the legend that the old "statehouse" cottonwood on the lawn of the state capital could have sprouted from a seed caught in the limestone brought in for the buildling. Ah, such optimism! ;-)

    Lovely photos, BTW.

    Kathleen Cain, author
    The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion
    Johnson Books/Big Earth Publishing.
    Boulder, CO: 2007

  4. thanks for the comments! it was a fun post to write. :)


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