San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[BRCC San Diego Natural History Museum: Research Library]
Plants that Attract Butterflies, A Gallery of Paintings by Albert Valentien

Populus fremontii

Painting of Populus fremontii, by Albert Valentien

Populus fremontii (Fremont Cottonwood)
Painted by Albert Valentien © San Diego Natural History Museum

Populus fremontii or Fremont Cottonwood is a tree reaching as tall as 80 feet, with an open, broad crown, found along streams. It has deltoid-shaped leaves that are irregularly toothed; leaf stems or petioles are flattened which has the effect of making the leaves very free to move in the slightest breeze. It is believed that the genus was named Populus (the Latin name for people) because the aspect of many cottonwood leaves moving in the wind could resemble a group of people in motion. Seeds are carried by white downy tufts, which have a "cottony" appearance. Another common name for this tree is the Alamo. P. fremontii is a member of the willow family, or Salicaceae. The Mourning Cloak butterfly uses plants in the genera Populus, Alnus, and Salix as host species.

Introduction to Valentien Collection
Gallery of Plants
Monarca: A Gallery of Butterfly Plants

Text by Margaret Dykens