Along the rivers on the east coast of Vancouver Island Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) is now producing seed. In fact, there is so much Cottonwood fluff in the air at times that it seems like it is snowing beside the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The seeds gather in drifts along the edge of trails and float with the current downstream.
For the Black Cottonwood this is advantageous. It favours moist to wet areas and is commonly found on floodplains beside major rivers. The seeds are carried by air and water to potential new growing places.
The Black Cottonwood is a dramatic tree with rough, gray, furrowed bark, towering up to 50 m high. The leaves are heart-shaped with a fine toothed edge and thick and almost leathery in texture. The fruits of the cottonwood are round green hairy capsules that split into 3 parts releasing the seeds.
Read more about the Black Cottonwood over at Rock Paper Lizard. You can’t miss the cottonwood fluff at this time of year and it’s worth giving the tree itself a closer look.