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Poplar and Aspen Trees

Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera)

Family: Salicaceae or Willow (Poplar)

Leaves: Ovate to lanceolate; 3" to 6" long, 2" to 4" wide; pointed tip; rounded base; finely serrate margin; dark green above, paler beneath; petiole round, slender, long.

Twigs/buds: Twigs yellowish to reddish-brown when young, turning dark orange to gray when older; round, thick. Buds reddish-brown; large, pointed, round, fragrant, sticky; terminal buds 1" long; 5-scaled with hairless margins.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers dioecious; yellowish-green male catkins; occur in early spring. Fruit is a hairless capsule; large (1/4" to 1/3" long), rounded, egg-shaped; parting into two when mature; arranged in catkins; seeds light brown, small.

Bark: Pinkish, pale green, or greenish-brown initially, becoming gray-black and deeply furrowed and ridged with time.

General: Some sources show this as native to extreme northeast Utah (confused with black cottonwood?); at any rate uncommon.

Landscape Use: Not planted and no cultivars available. Zones 2-5.

Comments and Limitations:
- Weak wood and/or branch structure.
- Prefers abundant water.

Balsam Poplar