Rio Grande Cottonwood - Populus deltoides subsp. wislizeni

Ethnobotanical Uses

(Plantalk Colorado)


"Acoma Candy Cotton from the pistillate catkins used as chewing gum."(Moerman 430)


"All these trees (different types of cottonwoods) contain chemical substances that have pain-relieving qualities similar to those of aspirin. Thus, at San Juan Pueblo (Ohkay Owingeh) among others, cottonwood leaves once were applied to aching teeth and to skin abrasions. At San Ildefonso the leaves were boiled to make a tea for urinary problems." (Dunmire and Tierney 113)

Other Uses:

"Isleta Building Material Smaller limbs and leaves used for thatching houses. Canoe Material Wood formerly used in making small boats and rafts. Navajo Building Material Wood used for firewood, fence posts, vigas (heavy rafters), and tender boxes. Furniture Wood used to make cradles. Isleta Cash Crop Limbs used to make small bows and arrows for sale to tourists. Keres, Western Ceremonial Dance Twigs mixed with spruce branches the day after the mask dance. Fuel Wood used as fuel. Navajo Ceremonial Items Wood used to carve dolls and images of some animals for ceremonial purposes." (Moerman 430)

"Cottonwood and aspen are known as the woods for making drums. ---Today Cochiti, Taos and Jemez pueblos are best know for this craft, although drum making is also pursued at a few other modern pueblos." (Dunmire and Tierney 112)

"The wood of these (cottonwood) trees burns hot and clean. As related to us by a potter we met at the Tesuque Pueblo Senior Center, this is the favorite wood for firing pots. Cottonwood bark is know to have been used for this purpose." (Dunmire and Tierney 113)