Balsam poplar, balm buds, balm of Gilead, Carolina poplar, cottonwood, hackmatack, poplar balsam, tacamahac poplar, tackamahac.
A tree that may reach 100 feet in height; sometimes the trunk is 6 feet in diameter. The broad, pointed leaves are 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide; they are rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, finely toothed, shiny dark green above, pale green often with rusty brown patches below. The buds and twigs are brownish red, and the large buds are very resinous and fragrant.
March to April.
Riverbanks, swamps, wastelands, and river bottoms.
Winter buds in February and March before opening.
A tincture of the bark has reportedly been used to treat infections of the chest, kidneys, stomach, and for rheumatism, gout, and scurvy. The buds have been used as a vulnerary and pectoral. In Europe the fresh flowers are steeped in cold water, then strained and drunk to purify the blood.