National & State Symbols
Kansas State Tree
(Salicaceae Populus deltoides)
Adopted on March 23, 1937.
Kansas House Bill No. 113, introduced by State Representative Relihan, led to the cottonwood being adopted as the official state tree of Kansas by an act of the Kansas Legislature, approved on March 23, 1937.
The Kansas legislation did not specify a particular variety of cottonwood and there hasn't always been agreement about the classification of cottonwoods that do grow in Kansas.
Eastern cottonwood (typical) (Populus deltoides var. deltoides) is also called southern cottonwood, Carolina poplar, eastern poplar, necklace poplar, and álamo.
Kansas State Tree: Cottonwood
Eastern cottonwood, (Salicaceae Populus deltoides,) one of the largest eastern hardwoods, is short-lived but the fastest-growing commercial forest species in North America.
It grows best on moist well-drained sands or silts near streams, often in pure stands. The lightweight, rather soft wood is used primarily for core stock in manufacturing furniture and for pulpwood. Eastern cottonwood is one of the few hardwood species that is planted and grown specifically for these purposes.
Besides the typical eastern variety (var. deltoides), there is a western variety, plains cottonwood (var. occidentalis). Its leaves, more broad than long, are slightly smaller and more coarsely toothed than the typical variety.
Populus deltoides has been referred to as the eastern cottonwood. But, some botanists recognize two variations of Populus deltoides, var. deltoides commonly called the eastern cottonwood and var. occidentalis Rydb. commonly referred to as the plains cottonwood.
Both varieties grow in Kansas though only the variation defined as occidentalis is considered native to the state by the USDA's National Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS database. But, the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, Kansas describes the state tree as the eastern cottonwood or generically, (Populus deltoides). Either or both varieties can probably be considered official.)
Identification of the Kansas Cottonwood
Kansas House Bill No. 113
House Bill No. 113, introduced by State Representative Relihan, started the official process that led to the cottonwood being adopted as the official state tree of Kansas by an act of the Kansas Legislature, approved on March 23, 1937.
Chapter 73.--SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND PATRIOTIC EMBLEMS.
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which they are designated.