Family: Salicaceae – Willow Family
Deciduous tree; 33' to 82.5' (10 to 25 m) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; toothed; no hairs; turn yellow in fall; 0.8” to 4” (2 to 10 cm) long, 1.8” to 5” (4.5 to 12.5 cm) wide
Flowers: no petals, no sepals
Individual flowers are either male (staminate) or female (pistillate); borne in catkins on different trees (dioecious); staminate flowers with 50 to 80 stamens are 1.6” to 4” (4 to 10 cm) long with red anthers; pistillate flowers of a single pistil with 2-4 carpels and as many stigmas are 2” to 6” (5 to 15 cm) long
Pollinators: wind; not self-fertile
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: riparian areas
Location seen: Courthouse wash
Other: The genus name, “Populus”, is Latin for "people" because the many leaves moving in a breeze resemble a moving populace. The species name, “fremontii”, honors explorer John Charles Fremont (1813-1890).
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.