Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bethesda Cottonwoods

I've never seen a cottonwood tree before, so it never crossed my mind that they might produce cotton. Imagine my surprise when I went for a walk and saw lots of cottony fluff all over Battery Lane Park in Bethesda, MD. The stuff was everywhere, big clumps of it. And there were bits of it floating in the air. It took me a few minutes to track it down to the trees by the playground. If you have a little time over the next few days, I'd recommend that you go there and take a quick look, it is pretty interesting.

If you look close at the drifts of fluff you can see the small white seeds. I'm not positive, but I think that some of them have already sprouted.

Some cottonwood trees are female and some are male. Only the female trees have the fluff. The seed pods are way up in the top of the tree and each one produces a lot of the snow-like fluff.


  1. I used to live in the apartment complex in your picture. The cottonwood was cool and annoying at the same time.

    I miss that area a lot. Just isn't the same in the suburbs of NOVA.

  2. I can see how they could be annoying. When preping for this post I read that some places have banned cottonwoods because of the fuzz. But, as someone who doesn't have to live with them on a day to day basis, and hasn't experienced them before, this is pretty cool.

  3. Thank you for this post. There was a cottonwood tree in the neighbor's yard where I grew up and I loved the soft fluff that came off the tree. I'm never back in my hometown when the cottonwood seeds are flying around.

    I'll have to check this tree out now that I know there is one here in Bethesda. I doubt they look very nice right now though, with the rain we've had overnight.

    We've got a ginkgo in our yard. Now THAT is annoying!