Populus balsamifera – Balsam Poplar – 7-Gallon


Also known by its Indian name Hackmatack, this is the northernmost hardwood in North America, growing as far north as the Arctic Circle. Surprisingly though, the tree is not common in the Catskills, being completely absent from Ulster County and found only in the Sullivan County Catskills. The 1-inch buds are reddish-brown, resinous, and very fragrant with a spicy aroma like cinnamon. Balsam Poplar is in the willow family (Salicaceae) – its resinous bud sap contains salicin which your body can convert to aspirin. The resin is extracted by various means, commonly by soaking in oil – the resulting salve may be used externally to treat muscle soreness, minor cuts and abrasions and other skin care needs. Also as a chest rub for congestion. Other preparations are used for a variety of medicinal needs. The underside of leaves are also resinous.

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