Cell cycle progression requires interaction between cyclin-dependent kinase B (CDKB) and cyclin B (CYCB). The seasonal expression patterns of the CDKB and CYCB homologues from Populus tomentosa Carr. were investigated, and effects of temperature and exogenous indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) on their expression were further studied in water culture experiments. Based on the differential responses of dormant cambium cells to exogenous IAA, four stages of cambium dormancy were confirmed for P. tomentosa: quiescence 1 (Q1), rest, quiescence 2-1 (Q2-1), and quiescence 2-2 (Q2-2). PtoCDKB and PtoCYCB transcripts were strongly expressed in the active phases, weakly in Q1, and almost undetectable from rest until late Q2-2. Climatic data analysis showed a correlation between daily air temperature and PtoCDKB and PtoCYCB expression patterns. Water culture experiments with temperature treatment further showed that a low temperature (4 degrees C) kept PtoCDKB and PtoCYCB transcripts at undetectable levels, while a warm temperature (25 degrees C) induced their expression in the cambium region. Meanwhile, water culture experiments with exogenous IAA treatment showed that induction of PtoCDKB and PtoCYCB transcription was independent of exogenous IAA. The results suggest that, in deciduous hardwood P. tomentosa growing in a temperate zone, the temperature in early spring is a vital environmental factor for cambium reactivation. The increasing temperature in early spring may induce CDKB and CYCB homologue transcription in the cambium region, which is necessary for cambium cell division.