Balsam Poplar

The Balsam Poplar tree has the rough bark that is deeply grooved. Why? So that the tree can catch the rain and channel it to run right down the grooves, to the roots. Balsam Poplar is a ‘wet foot’ tree. Because it loves moisture, it tends to grow in the prairies, foothills and some mountain valleys where there is a River, a Creek or a ravine. Beavers eat the smooth bark off the branches and use the rest of the branch to make their dams and homes, (called lodges). Anthropologist Brian Vivian told me that along the Bow River, at the bottom of the rounded hills, there were springs roughly every 12 miles apart. These hills are along Memorial Drive all the way to Cochrane. The Blackfoot and other tribes who visited this area, traveled along the river making camp at the Balsam poplar stands, growing along the River, as they knew there would be a spring for water. It is the tree of the well known Balsam poplar salve.

Do you have a spot near your home where these trees grow? Is there also a coulee or a ravine?