Balsam Poplar Balm Of Gilead

=Habitat and Range.=--Alluvial soils; river banks, valleys, borders of

swamps, woods.

Newfoundland and Nova Scotia west to Manitoba; northward to the

coast of Alaska and along the Mackenzie river to the Arctic circle.

Maine,--common; New Hampshire,--Connecticut river valley, generally near

the river, becoming more plentiful northward; Vermont,--frequent;

Massachusetts and Rhode Isl
nd,--not reported; Connecticut,--extending

along the Housatonic river at New Milford for five or six miles, perhaps

derived from an introduced tree (C. K. Averill, Rhodora, II, 35).

West through northern New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Dakota (Black

Hills), Montana, beyond the Rockies to the Pacific coast.

=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 30-75 feet high, trunk 1-3 feet in

diameter, straight; branches horizontal or nearly so, slender for size

of tree, short; head open, narrow-oblong or oblong-conical; branchlets

mostly terete; foliage thin.

=Bark.=--In old trees dark gray or ash-gray, firm-ridged, in young trees

smooth; branchlets grayish; season's shoots reddish or greenish brown,

sparsely orange-dotted.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds 3/4 inch long, appressed or slightly

divergent, conical, slender, acute, resin-coated, sticky, fragrant when

opening. Leaves 3-6 inches long, about one-half as wide, yellowish when

young, when mature bright green, whitish below; outline ovate-lanceolate

or ovate, finely toothed, gradually tapering to an acute or acuminate

apex; base obtuse to rounded, sometimes truncate or heart-shaped;

leafstalk much shorter than the blade, terete or nearly so; stipules

soon falling. The leaves of var. intermedia are obovate to oval; those

of var. latifolia closely approach the leaves of P. candicans.

=Inflorescence.=--April. Sterile 3-4 inches long, fertile at first about

the same length, gradually elongating, loosely flowered; bracts

irregularly and rather narrowly cut-toothed, each bract subtending a

cup-shaped disk; stamens numerous; anthers red: ovary short-stalked;

stigmas two, 2-lobed, large, wavy-margined.

=Fruit.=--Fruiting catkins drooping, 4-6 inches long: capsules ovoid,

acute, longer than the pedicels, green: seeds numerous, hairy.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in all

excepting very wet soils, in full sun or light shade, and in exposed

situations; of rapid growth, but subject to the attacks of borers, which

kill the branches and make the head unsightly; also spreads from the

roots, and therefore not desirable for ornamental plantations; most

useful in the formation of shelter-belts; readily transplanted but not

common in nurseries. Propagated from cuttings.

1. Branch with sterile flowers.

2. Sterile flower, back view.

3. Sterile flower, side view.

4. Scales of sterile flower.

5. Branch with fertile catkins.

6. Fertile flower.

7. Fruiting catkins, mature.

8. Branch with mature leaves.

=Populus candicans, Ait.=

Populus balsamifera, var. candicans, Gray.