THE BALSAM POPLAR.
P. balsamifera, Linn.
The balsam poplar is the balm of Gilead of the early settlers, the Tacamahac of the Northern Indians. They squeezed the fragrant wax from the winter buds and used it to seal up the seams in their birch-bark canoes. The bees taught the Indian the uses of this glutinous secretion, which the tree used to seal the bud-scales and thus keep out water. When growth starts with the stirring of the sap, this wax softens; then the bees collect and store it against a day of need. Whether their homes be hollow trees or patent hives, weather-cracks are carefullysealed up with this water proof gum, which the bee-keeper knows as "propolis." Forests of balm of Gilead cover much of the vast British possessions north of the United States, and reach to the ultimate islands of the Aleutian group. They dip down into the states as far as Nebraska and Nevada. In culti
vation, the species has proved itself a tree of excellent habit, easily propagated and transplanted, and of rapid growth. It has all the good points of the Carolina poplar and lacks its besetting sin of becoming so soon an unsightly cripple.
These three cottonwoods line the banks of mountain streams at high elevations in the great system of mountain chains that stretch from British Columbia southward. The dancing foliage, bright green in summer, golden in autumn, lends a charming color note to the dun stretches of arid plain and the sombre green of pine forests. These trees furnish the settler fuel, shade, and wind-breaks while he is converting his " homestead " into a home.