Abies balsamea (Fr: Sapin baumier | En: Balsam fir)
Regular price $125.00 CAD
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This is the most common Christmas tree due to its dense foliage, long lasting needles and above all amazing fragrant smell.
Balsam of Canada
That fragrant smell comes from the “Balsam” of the Balsam Fir. “Balsam” isn’t one chemical but a name given to the perfume-like and resins (oleoresins) of a number of trees and shrubs. The word balsam comes from Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew and is a word for a “spice” or “perfume” ultimately tracing its origin to the “Balm of Gilead/ Balm of Mecca” a plant (Commiphora gileadensis) or group of plants that grow in the Mecca Valley, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. These plants reportedly arrived in Mediterranean western Asia as a gift from Queen Sheba to King Solomon. Balsam describes many other plant resins, including both Frankincense and Myrrh. There is no balsam in balsamic vinegar however; it gets the name “balsamic” from supposedly having balsam-like curative properties.
Along with Balsam Fir, Balsam Poplar and balsam willow are other balsam bearing trees in the Ottawa Valley.
This tree is so sadly under used in landscaping, which is suprising given that Balsam Fir can grow in a variety of conditions, and is fairly shade tolerant. One reported downside is its roots can be quite shallow and make it more prone to blowing in storms over than some other trees. However, this is also true of many trees that are common in and do well in urban areas, Norway maple (Acer platanoides) for example. The risk can be reduced by planting trees in a stand rather than alone.