Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera)

balsam poplar leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Balsam poplar.



Can grow to a height of 40' to 70' with a diameter of 24" or more; grows upright with narrow, straight top that later becomes somewhat broad.


Greenish-brown to light brown, smooth; becoming grayish-black and deeply furrowed with flat ridges


Simple, alternate on stem, 3" to 6" long; half as wide, blunt finely toothed margins, shiny green (silvery green below with rusty blotches); yellow in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Small, cotton like capsules grouped in 4" to 6" catkins, easily carried by the wind for long distances; mature in late spring.


Found throughout the northern and central Minnesota;hardly through-out.

Wood uses

Heavy when green, light when dry; soft, not very strong, close-grained, light brown, sapwood white; used for pulp, boxes, packing cases, and rough lumber; rots readily in contact with ground.

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