With these characteristics: None
Salicaceae - Willow
Leaves: Dark-green to bluish-green on top, hairy when young, pale below; similar to P. balsamifera, but broader, hairier, and with a heart-shaped base; 2-1/2" to 6" long; pointed, finely toothed; deciduous.
Twigs/buds: Twigs reddish brown and slightly hairy when young. Buds reddish, egg-shaped, resinous, and fragrant.
Flowers/fruit: Flowers borne in catkins up to 6" long, occur before leaves. Fruit borne in capsules in catkins similar to P. balsamifera and P. deltoides.
Bark: Grayish-brown, can be somewhat orange; furrowed with age.
Wood: Presumably similar to eastern cottonwood (P. deltoides) and balsam poplar (P. balsamifera): heartwood grayish-white to lighter brown; sapwood whitish; relatively straight-grained with uniform texture; odorless when dried.
General: Balm-of-Gilead is somewhat similar to balsam poplar (P. balsamifera); it is of confusing origin. Has escaped from cultivation in eastern North America and can now be found growing near roads and streams. Often referred to as Populus x gileadensis, a hybrid of P. deltoides and P. balsamifera, though Rehder calls it a separate species. Large, up to 100' in height, with a trunk diameter up to 6-1/2', and fast growing. Has many problems; weak wood and/or branch structure. Prefers abundant water. Zones 4-9.
Landscape Use: Has been planted quite a bit in Utah, especially in the south. Generally should be avoided, though limited use in specific situations may be justified.
Cultivars: 'Prairie Sky' – Narrow, single-stemmed tree. A male tree. Leaves are glossy green and triangular.
'Robusta' – Broad oval shape, vigorous grower.
'Eugeni' – Columnar habit with short lateral branches.
- Salicaceae - Willow
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