Just like many other of its closely related organisms, Populus deltoides has a fascinating reproductive cycle.  These trees are dioecious, meaning the male and female parts are on separate plants.  They are capable of reproducing sexually or asexually.  Sexually, they are able to produce seeds enveloped by soft, fuzzy fibers, otherwise though of as the "cotton".  Asexually, they can manage to produce new growth from old stumps, root sprouts, and cuttings from old trees.


Being a member of the Phylum Anthophyta, Populus deltoides produces fruits, as well as, flowers.  The floral buds that open in the spring are actually composed during the previous summer.  The flowering of these trees presents itself anytime from February until April before the leaves emerge.  Male buds progress before the female buds, and are also greater in size.  However as flowers, the females are longer (15-30 cm compared to male flowers 8-13 cm).  When a tree reaches the age of 4 to 5 years, they are capable of flowering.  Interestingly, trees in the more northern parts flower at lower temperatures than trees found in the south.


Once a tree has flowered, it begins to produce seeds.  Typically, this occurs when the trees are 5 to 10 years old.  As the trees grow in age, their seed production amount increases.  A single grown tree can produce as many as 48 million seeds annually, which is an incredible number!  Distribution of the seeds takes place approximately two months after flowering in southern populations and sooner than that in the north.  Therefore, in the south, the dispersal happens from May through the middle of July, and from June through the middle of July in the north.  The seeds can either be conducted by the wind or transported by water if that is where they fell.


After falling, the seeds must find an agreeable spot and germinate promptly,  The seedlings are extremely fragile during the initial few weeks and many of them can be terminated by rains, excessive sunshine, or fungi.  Consdierably moist and mineralized soil are required for germination.  As the tree matures, it can reach amazing heights well over 100 feet.



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