American Balm of Gilead
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kathy Frankland
Posted on: February 8, 2002

AMERICAN BALM OF GILEAD (Populus balsamifera):

You are selling American Balm of Gilead buds. Can you tell me where I can get a plant? Are they available from you? Is the plant also called American Balm of Gilead?

Balm of gilead buds are obtained from the balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) which grows throughout northern North America. It is a tree that grows up to 30 meters (100 feet) high and is hardy to zone 2. The wood is used to make plywood and paper. The unfolding leaves and sticky buds have the characteristic balsamic odour.

They are also collected from the balm-of-gilead poplar (P. x gileadensis = P. x candicans) which is presumed to be a hybrid between P. balsamifera and the cottonwood, P. deltoides. This hybrid is known only as female plants, and it spreads by suckering.

Your local nursery may carry balsam or balm-of-gilead poplar trees.

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