any of several American poplars, as Populus deltoides, having toothed, triangular leaves and cottonlike tufts on the seeds.

1795–1805, Americanism; cotton + wood1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cottonwood (ˈkɒtənˌwʊd)
1.  any of several North American poplars, esp Populus deltoides, whose seeds are covered with cottony hairs
2.  Also called: tauhinu a native New Zealand shrub, Cassinia leptophylla, with daisy-like flowers

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Halfway to the bottom, the desert opened, then practically vanished into stands of willow and cottonwood.
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