Balsam Poplar (Black Poplar)

Populus balsamifera

Traditional Indigenous Names 12

Cree: Mayimítos
Ojibwe: Maanazaadi
Dakota: Yatkanpi chan

Summary from Wikipedia 13

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 12

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 12

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

Bark 12

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

Twigs 12

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 12

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 12

Before leaves, in drooping dense catkins.

Fruit 12

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

Occurrence 12

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

Fun facts 12

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), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/21456945
  2. (c) Matt Lavin, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/5002380403/
  3. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38438618
  4. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38409219
  5. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38409401
  6. (c) Matt Lavin, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/5002377437/
  7. (c) Manitoba Forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/21456939
  8. (c) Doug Waylett, some rights reserved (CC BY), http://www.flickr.com/photos/58248664@N00/499568635
  9. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38409279
  10. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38409553
  11. (c) manitoba_forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Manitoba Forestry, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/38325899
  12. (c) Manitoba Forestry, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)
  13. Adapted by Manitoba Forestry from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populus_balsamifera

More Info

iNat Map