Balsam Poplar – Populus balsamifera

Balsam Poplar – Populus balsamifera
Family Salicaceae

Common names include Balm Of Gilead, Balm Poplar, Black Poplar, Black Cottonwood, Hackmatack

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Balsam Poplar bark
Hybrid poplars were initially developed for conventional pulpwood. In recent years, more interest has been placed on evaluation of hybrid poplar for short-rotation chip production for pulp and energy uses. However, at this time, investment rates of return are not attractive for large scale conversions to short rotation intensive culture systems.

In the northeastern United States, moose and deer often browse on poplar hybrids in recently planted plantations. Poplar buds are a choice food supply for ruffed grouse and several kinds of songbirds. Grouse and pheasant also eat the catkins. In urban areas, poplar hybrids are useful where fast-growing trees are needed for shade, landscaping, and screening around industrial buildings, apartment complexes, recreational playing areas, parking lots, and landfills. Poplar hybrids are used to stabilize soils on hillsides, along streams and rivers, landfills, and borrow pits, and planted to reduce air speed in agricultural areas where soil is lost to wind [1]

Salicaceae has 350 or so species of willows and poplars, which are mainly natives of the Northern Hemisphere. The one uniting feature of all these plants is their flowers; they have neither petals nor sepals but are borne in catkins that usually appear before the tree's new leaves. Both willows and poplars prefer moist sites and hybridize easily. These trees were growing along the banks of a small creek, along with various willows.

Height: to 100' Spread: 40-50' Habit / Form: Upright / Hardy to USDA Zone 3

Flowering and Fruiting – Poplar hybrids are dioecious and first flower at about 8 years of age. The flowers are borne in catkins (or aments) in the spring before leafing. Male and female catkins, when fully developed, are 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) long. In the female flower, the number of stigmas varies from two to four and are either cap- or y-shaped. In the male flower, the number of stamens varies from 30 to 80.

1. USDA Maurice E. Demeritt, Jr. Poplar Hybrids
2. NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY, National Audubon Field Guide to North American Trees
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Family Salicaceae — Willow, Cottonwood, Aspen
There are only two genera in this family, Salix (willows), with about 300 species, and Populus (poplars), with barely 40 species. Salicaceae are found throughout the temperate parts of the world, with the majority of species occurring in the north; both willows and poplars have a strong affinity for water.
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