Populus balsamifera

Balsam Poplar


SE Corner of Gypsy Hill and Long Rifle Roads, Lancaster PA


John Ambler


This tree is unfortunately now gone, but according to pabigtrees.com it was the state champion Balsam Poplar with a trunk circumference of 117 inches, a spread of 55 feet, and a height of 71 feet. Last measured in 2013.

"A year or two after I nominated it," Ambler said, "one of the main branches broke off.  Then later when I checked it again, it had been cut down.  I should have tried to contact the landowner when it was found to be a champion tree.  Then maybe they would have left it stand."

This was an unusual species to find in Lancaster County as the northern states and Canada comprise its normal range.  Indeed, Balsam Poplar is the northernmost North American hardwood.  No Balsams are currently listed at pabigtrees.com now that this champion is gone. 

This amazing species has a long history of medicinal uses for such ailments as skin problems, coughs and lung problems, sores and wounds, rheumatism, sprains, inflammation, muscle pain, nasal congestion, menstrual cramps, scurvy, and fever.