Also called bam, bamtree, hackmatack, tacamahac poplar and tacamahaca.

Very-closely related to sister-species ◼︎ black cottonwood  Populus trichocarpa.   So close, that some sources call the sister-species a subspecies of this plant, Populus balsamifera subsp. trichocarpa.

Both are part of aspen/​cottonwood/​poplar  genus Populus in willow  family Salicaceae.

Native to 🇨🇦 Canada, Alaska, and northern continental 🇺🇸 USA.   ▭ 🌎︎ Map (North America, Central America),  Adobe Acrobat Reader file ▭ 🌎︎ today + with climate change (eastern 🇺🇸 USA).

In the West and South of this range, balsam poplar overlaps with a very-closely related sister-species ◼︎ black cottonwood  Populus trichocarpa, which then extends South into much of Pacific Northwest (Cascadia), Rocky Mountains, and California.  Some maps confuse or combine these two sister-species.

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

Populus hosts caterpillars of 367 species
of butterflies and moths, in some areas.
  This plant is also known to be a host for (in areas where invasive) 🐝︎ spotted lanternfly (SLF)  Lycorma delicatula.

Often grows in clonal colonies [1] —look around for other stems!

Can form a hybrid with eastern cottonwood  Populus deltoides (also part of the aspen/​cottonwood/​poplar  genus Populus ), forming balm of Gilead  Populus × jackii.   The hybrid occurs occasionally in nature.

In areas where this plant is native, this plant is among the wet-loving (but terrestrial ) shrubs and trees used to protect eroding streambanks, lakeshores, bluffs, road slopes and landslides (as well as floodplains and stormwater detention ponds), in a process called live-staking.   Note:  Before you plant this species, remember that this tree grows to 30 m (100 feet) tall.

Propagation protocol.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

Learn more about eastern balsam poplar Populus balsamifera

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Michigan Flora Minnesota Wildflowers Flora of North America NRCS PLANTS db Silvics USFS Wikipedia