balsam poplar
Populus balsamifera ssp. balsamifera

Balsam poplar is a wide-ranging deciduous species of northern, transcontinental distribution. In fact, balsam poplar is the northernmost occuring of all North American hardwoods. Like other poplars, balsam poplar is fast growing, browsed by wildlife and useful for a variety of wood products.

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Light Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Balsam poplar is used for house logs, boxes, crates, brackets, veneer, corestock, and pulp.


Wildlife Value
      A variety of animals browse balsam poplar, particularly during times of food shortage.
          Attracts: rodents, hares, beaver, moose, deer, elk, ruffed grouse

Regeneration methods
      Balsam poplar is intolerant of shade and fast growing, and this allows for regeneration primarily by the clearcut method.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
wood borers small entry holes; frass (sawdust like substance)

Fun facts
A rapidly growing tree. The light, soft, wood is used for crates, boxes and pulp. Grouse eat the buds, and twigs are browsed by moose and deer. Balsam poplar groves exude a cinnamon-like fragrance coinciding with springtime bud break. Balm of Gilead is made from the resinous gum.
Populus: Latin name / balsamifera ssp. balsamifera: balsam bearing
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu