Populus balsamifera

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Balsam poplar
Populus balsamifera.jpg
A stem with young leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Section: Tacamahaca
Species: P. balsamifera
Binomial name
Populus balsamifera
L.
Populus balsamifera range map 1.png
Natural range
Synonyms[1]
  • Populus tacamahacca Mill.
  • Populus candicans Aiton

Populus balsamifera, commonly called balsam poplar,[2] bam,[3] bamtree,[1] eastern balsam-poplar,[4] 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".[5] 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 subspecies of P. balsamifera[6] and may lend its common name to this species, although the black poplars and cottonwoods of Populus sect. Aigeiros are not closely related.

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.[7]

The Balm-of-Gilead (Populus × jackii), also known as P. × gileadensis, is the hybrid between P. balsamifera and the eastern cottonwood (P. deltoides), occurring occasionally where the two parental species' ranges overlap. This hybrid is also sometimes planted as a shade tree, and sometimes escapes from cultivation.[8] The name Populus candicans has been variously used for either P. balsamifera or P. × jackii; it is currently considered a synonym of P. balsamifera.

Balm of Gilead is a balm (healing compound) made from the resinous gum of this species[9][unreliable source?] or related species such as Populus × jackii.[8] However, despite the name, this tree is not the source of the turpentine Canada balsam, derived instead from the balsam fir (Abies balsamea).

The light, soft wood of Populus balsamifera is used for pulp and construction.[7]

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. See List of Lepidoptera that feed on poplars.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Populus balsamifera". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). 
  2. ^ "Populus balsamifera". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross. 1991. A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, p. 100.
  4. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  5. ^ Earl J.S. Rook (2006-03-04). "Balsam Poplar, Populus balsamifera". Rook.org. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  6. ^ "Populus balsamifera". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. 
  7. ^ a b Zasada, John C.; Phipps, Howard M. (1990). "Populus balsamifera". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. Hardwoods. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2. Retrieved 30 August 2012 – via Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry (www.na.fs.fed.us). 
  8. ^ a b Werthner, William B. (1935). Some American Trees: An Intimate Study of Native Ohio Trees. New York: The Macmillan Company. 
  9. ^ "Herbal Branch 4: Balm of Gilead". Familyherbalremedies.com. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 

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