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Product Name: POPLAR BUDS

Botanic Name: Populus Candicans


The balsam poplars also known as Populus sect. Tacamahaca are a group of about 10 species of poplars, indigenous to North America and eastern Asia, distinguished by the balsam scent of their buds, the whitish undersides of their leaves, and the leaf petiole being round (not flattened) in cross-section. They are large deciduous trees, 3060 m tall, with leaves with a rounded base, pointed apex, and a whitish waxy coating on the underside of the leaf; this latter distinguishes them from most other poplars. The name is derived from the pleasant balsam smell of the opening buds and leaves in spring, produced by a sticky gum on the buds which also helps protect the buds from insect damage. The balsam poplars are light-demanding trees that require considerable moisture but are tolerant of very cold conditions, occurring further north than other poplars except for the aspens.


Balsam poplars are cultivated mainly in parks for their ornamental, light-coloured bark and pleasant scent in spring. Western Balsam Poplar is also planted as a timber crop. The wood is soft, very light in weight but strong for its weight, coarse and fibrous, not polishing or planing easily, and is used for pallet boxes and other similar rough uses. Several hybrids between balsam poplars (particularly Western Balsam Poplar) and the cottonwoods have also been produced for wood production. These hybrids are selected for exceptionally fast growth and disease resistance. Poplars are also of potential use for biofuels because of their fast growth. Researchers are aiming to use genetic techniques to make poplars grow fatter and with a smaller canopy, so that more trees can be grown more quickly in a small space, and to make the plants contain a higher proportion of cellulose to lignin. The increased cellulose content would make them easier to convert into sugars and ethanol for biofuel. Also used for pulp in paper mills.

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