Balsam Poplar Populus balsamifera

Detailed Listing For
Botanical Name:

Populus balsamifera







Common Name:

Balsam Poplar

80-100 feet
Minimum Hardiness Zone:

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  • Populus balsamifera

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Growing Info, follow in order:
Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 6 hours.
Stratification: none required.
Germination: surface sow and keep moist.
In a Nutshell:
* Populus balsamifera is the northernmost American hardwood, growing transcontinentally on boreal and montane upland and flood plain sites, and attaining its best development on flood plains.
* It is a hardy, fast-growing tree which is generally short lived, but some trees as old as 200 years have been found in southern Appalachia near ancient habitations,
* The light, soft wood of Populus balsamifera is used for pulp and construction.
* Many kinds of animals use the twigs of Populus balsamifera for food. The leaves of the tree serve as food for caterpillars of various Lepidoptera. more...
* Iinner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread.
* Balsam poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat skin problems and lung ailments.
* An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil.
* An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day. more...
Populus balsamifera , commonly called balsam poplar , [ 1 ] bamtree , [ 1 ] eastern balsam poplar , [ 1 ] hackmatack , [ 1 ] tacamahac poplar , [ 1 ] tacamahaca , [ 1 ] is a tree species in the balsam poplar species group in the poplar genus, Populus . The genus name Populus is from the Latin for poplar , and the specific epithet balsamifera from Latin for "balsam-bearing". [ 2 ] Other common names for the species include heartleaf balsam poplar, and Ontario balsam poplar. [ citation needed ] The black cottonwood , Populus trichocarpa , is sometimes considered a supspecies of P. balsamifera [ 3 ] and may lend its common name to this species, although the black poplars and cottonwoods of Populus sect. Aigeiros are not closely related.
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Physical Characteristics  Populus balsamifera is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 2. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.
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The balsam poplars — also known as Populus sect. Tacamahaca — are a group of about 10 species of poplars , indigenous to North America and eastern Asia , distinguished by the balsam scent of their buds , the whitish undersides of their leaves , and the leaf petiole being round (not flattened) in cross-section. They are large deciduous trees , 30–60 m tall, with leaves with a rounded base, pointed apex, and a whitish waxy coating on the underside of the leaf; this latter distinguishes them from most other poplars. The name is derived from the pleasant balsam smell of the opening buds and leaves in spring, produced by a sticky gum on the buds which also helps protect the buds from insect damage. The balsam poplars are light-demanding trees that require considerable moisture but are tolerant of very cold conditions, occurring further north than other poplars except for the aspens .
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Usda description:
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