Balsam Poplar

Botanical Name: Populus balsamifera
Common Names: Cottonwood, Heartleaf Balsam


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Key Products

Oriented Strandboard (OSB), Pulp

Key Statistics

Specific Gravity: 0.37
Density (Dry, kg/m3): 415
MOE (Dry, MPa): 11500
MOR (Dry, (MPa): 69.8
Hardness (Side, N): 1840
Colour - Sapwood: Nearly white
Colour - Heartwood: Greyish white to greyish brown, often with a reddish brown tinge
Machining: Poor to moderate
Fastening: Poor to moderate
Finishing: Fair


Species Description

Next to trembling aspen, balsam poplar is the most prominent deciduous species in Alberta’s Boreal mixed forest. Trees are medium-sized, 18 to 24 metres tall and 30 to 60 cm in diameter. Balsam poplar comprises 15% of Alberta’s hardwood inventory and about 6% of Alberta’s total forest inventory.

Balsam poplar, together with aspen and other poplar species, is used as a raw material in the manufacture of oriented strandboard (OSB), pulp,  veneer, and plywood.