( Populus deltoides) Neighbourhood: Leaside, East York Ravine/Park: Sunnybrook Park Height: 34 m (111 feet); diameter: 152 cm (5 feet)
With a diameter of 152 cm — the width of a typical queen-size bed — this is the largest of the 905 trees in Davies’ current inventory. And even with its impressive stature — the tip of its crown is higher than a typical 10-storey building — it likely still has some growing to do. In the right conditions, this fast-growing species can easily span 180 cm (6 feet) in diameter, with some of the biggest eastern cottonwoods in the U.S. measuring an astonishing 355 cm (11.5 feet) across. Uncommon in Toronto — the Great Lakes region is at the northern tip of its range — eastern cottonwoods are easy to spot in early summer when they let loose seeds attached to tufts of fluffy white hairs that float in the breeze. If you a spy a large eastern cottonwood in your neighbourhood, know that its easy-toburrow-in wood is important habitat for cavity-nesting species, including woodpeckers, owls, tree frogs and flying squirrels.
With a diameter of 152 cm, this eastern cottonwood is the largest of the trees in Toronto ecologist Eric Davies’ inventory.