Balsam Poplar (Black Poplar)

Populus balsamifera

Traditional Indigenous Names 5

Cree: Mayimítos
Ojibwe: Maanazaadi
Dakota: Yatkanpi chan

Summary from Wikipedia 6

Populus balsamifera, commonly called balsam poplar, bam, bamtree, eastern balsam-poplar, hackmatack, tacamahac poplar, tacamahaca, 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". Other common names for the species include heartleaf balsam poplar, and Ontario

Easy identifiers 5

Balsam Poplar has oval shaped leaves with a long tip. The leaves sometimes also have protruding glands at the base of the leaf and their stalks are round which sets them apart from the aspens and eastern cottonwood. Balsam Poplar has a long straight trunk with a narrow crown. Their bark is deeply furrowed, and their fruits are green capsules hanging in clusters that contain tuffs of hairy cotton.

Form 5

Medium sized deciduous tree with long cylindrical trunk and a narrow, open crown of stout limbs.

Bark 5

Smooth, becoming furrowed into thick ridges, whitish to greyish-brown.

Twigs 5

Alternate, moderately stout, round, shiny, smooth, bright reddish-brown. Lenticels few, mostly inconspicuous. Terminal bud sharp, pointed, up to 25 millimetres (1/2 - 1 inch) long, shiny, very gummy with a fragrant odor, chestnut-brown; lateral buds smaller, pressed against twig. Leaf scars moon-shaped, small, with three bundle scars.

Leaves 5

Alternate, simple, oval, tapering to tip, rounded at base (or heart-shaped at base in var.subcordata Hylander), fine-toothed, 7 - 10 millimetres (3 - 6 inches) long, with a yellowish metallic lustre on undersurface.

Flowers 5

Before leaves, in drooping dense catkins.

Fruit 5

With leaves, smooth capsule about 6 - 7 millimetres (1/4 inch) long in catkins.

Occurrence 5

Throughout moist habitats in the forested ecozones of Manitoba; except extreme north.

Fun facts 5

Many parts of Balsam Poplar were used as components in medicine by the First Nations Peoples including the bud, bark, and cottony fruit of the tree. Many different animals are attracted to the resin of Balsam Poplar including bees who use it to disinfect their bee hives.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Manitoba Forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry
  2. (c) Matt Lavin, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. (c) Matt Lavin, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  4. (c) Doug Waylett, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  5. (c) Manitoba Forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)
  6. Adapted by Manitoba Forestry from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),

More Info

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