The Arapaho people believe that cottonwood trees  are fundamental to the creation of the
star-filled night skies. When the night spirit needs stars, it asks the wind spirit to blow, and blow
hard it does, until conttonwood trees shed some of their branches. At the broken places is left a
star-shaped pattern in the wood, where a new star was born into the sky.
Cottonwood trees can live to be over 100 years old.  There are cottonwoods on the Great
Plains today that were living when the great herds of bison still roamed the prairie.

Cottonwood trees are related to poplars and aspens, with which they share the same shaking,
shimmering leaves.

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Cottonwoods and Mt. Tom
Owens Valley near Bishop, CA