Balm Of Gilead

=Habitat and Range.=--In a great variety of soils; usually in cultivated

or pasture lands in the vicinity of dwellings; infrequently found in a

wild state. The original site of this tree has not been definitely

agreed upon. Professor L. H. Bailey reports that it is indigenous in

Michigan, and northern collectors find both sexes in New Hampshire and

Vermont; while in central and southern New England the staminate tree is

rarely if ever seen, and the pistillate flowers seldom if ever mature

perfect fruit. The evidence seems to indicate a narrow belt extending

through northern New Hampshire, Vermont and Michigan, with the

intermediate southern sections of the Province of Ontario as the home of

the Balm of Gilead.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,--occasional; Ontario,--frequent.

New England,--occasional throughout.

South to New Jersey; west to Michigan and Minnesota.

=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 40-60 feet high; trunk 1-3 feet in

diameter, straight or inclined, sometimes beset with a few crooked,

bushy branchlets; head very variable in shape and size; solitary in open

ground, commonly broad-based, spacious, and pyramidal, among other

trees more often rather small; loosely and irregularly branched, with

sparse, coarse, and often crooked spray; foliage dark green, handsome,

and abundant; all parts characterized by a strong and peculiar resinous

fragrance. A single tree multiplying by suckers often becomes parent of

a grove covering half an acre, more or less, made up of trees of all

ages and sizes.

=Bark.=--Bark of trunk and lower portions of large branches dark gray,

rough, irregularly striate and firm in old trees; in young trees and

upon smaller branches smooth, soft grayish-green, often flanged by

prominent ridges running down the stalk from the vertices of the

triangular leaf-scars; season's shoots often flanged, shining reddish or

olive green, with occasional longitudinal gray lines, viscid.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds dark reddish-brown, rather closely set

along the stalk, conical or somewhat angled, narrow, often falcate,

sharp-pointed, resinous throughout, viscid, aromatic, exhaling a

powerful odor when the scales expand, terminal about 3/4 inch long.

Leaves 4-6 inches long and nearly as wide, yellowish-green at first,

becoming dark green and smooth on the upper surface with the exception

of a minute pubescence along the veins, dull light green beneath,

finely serrate with incurved glandular points, usually ciliate with

minute stiff, whitish hairs; base heart-shaped; apex short-pointed;

petioles about 1-1-1/2 inches long, more or less hairy, somewhat

flattened at right angles to the blade; stipules short, ovate, acute,

soon falling.

=Inflorescence.=--Similar to that of P. balsamifera.

=Fruit.=--Similar to that of P. balsamifera.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; has an attractive

foliage and grows rapidly in all soils and situations, but the branches

are easily broken by the wind, and its habit of suckering makes it

objectionable in ornamental ground; occasionally offered by nurserymen

and collectors. Propagated from cuttings.

1. Winter bud.

2. Branch with fertile catkins.

3. Fertile flower.

4. Fruiting branch.

=Populus alba, L.=