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John C. Zasada and Howard M. Phipps
Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) is the northernmost American hardwood. It grows transcontinentally on upland and flood plain sites but attains the best development on flood plains. It is a hardy, fast-growing tree which is generally short lived, with some trees reaching 200 years. Other names are balm-of-gilead, bam, tacamahac, cottonwood, or heartleaf balsam poplar. Many kinds of animals use the twigs for food. The light, soft wood is used for pulp and construction.