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Betula alleghaniensis

Betula alleghaniensis Britton

 

Yellow Birch

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFagalesBirch, she-oak, beech, walnut, bayberry, others
FamilyBetulaceaeBirch family: birches, alders, hazels, hornbeams and hop-hornbeams
GenusBetulaBirch
Speciesalleghaniensis

About plant names...

Yellow birch is a North American native.

Identification: Trees are 60-70' (18-21 m) tall, rarely reaching 100' (30 m). Tree shape is pyramidal in young trees, and usually uneven in mature trees. The yellowish-bronze bark, easily peeled as with other birches, is unique in appearance; the inner bark has a slight odor or wintergreen. Leaves are alternate and unlobed, 2-4½" (6-12 cm) long and half as wide. Yellow birches have both male and female flowers on the same tree. Male flowers are catkins near twig ends, 1" (2.5 cm) long and reddish green. Female flowers point upright. They are ⅝" (1.7 cm) long and reddish-green. Fruits resemble small cones, ¾-1¼" (1.9-3.2 cm) × ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm).

Edibility: The sap may be harvested and processed like that from sugar maples, though the sugar content is much lower. The inner bark can be cooked or dried, then powdered and used as an ingredient in making bread. Twigs and leaves can be used to produce a tea.

 

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/3/2010 · Birch Point Beach State Park, Owl's Head, ME
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm) ID is uncertain

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

6/18/2012 · Vaughn Woods, South Berwick, ME
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Some members of Acer:

  You are here
Betula alleghaniensis

Betula lenta

Betula nigra
Common Name

Yellow Birch

Black Birch

River Birch
Plant Trees are 60-70' (18-21 m) tall, rarely reaching 100' (30 m). Tree shape is pyramidal in young trees, and usually uneven in mature trees.   Trees are up to 82' (25 m), rarely reaching 98' (30 m). They often have multiple trunks. Trees tend to be pyramid-shaped when they are young, becoming more irregular as they age.
Flowers Yellow birches have both male and female flowers on the same tree. Male flowers are catkins near twig ends, 1" (2.5 cm) long and reddish green. Female flowers point upright. They are ⅝" (1.7 cm) long and reddish-green.   Male and female flowers appear on the same tree. Male catkins are up to 3" (7.6 cm) long in April; female flowers are inconspicuous.
Leaves Leaves are alternate and unlobed, 2-4½" (6-12 cm) long and half as wide.   Leaves are dark green, alternate, unlobed. They are roughly diamond-shaped, with the top half of the diamond more pointed and with doubly serrated edges, while the bottom half is flatter and with smooth edges. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Stem The yellowish-bronze bark, easily peeled as with other birches, is unique in appearence; the inner bark has a slight odor or wintergreen.   Bark is highly variable. As with other birches, it peels away spontaneously (“exfoliates”), making the trunk look ragged. It may be dark gray-brown and scaly, pinkish-brown, or white and papery.
Fruit Fruits resemble small cones, ¾-1¼" (1.9-3.2 cm) × ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm).    
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-8

USDA Zones: 4-9
Habitats     Floodplains, swamp or river boundaries.
Type Wild Wild Wild

 

 
Betula papyrifera

Betula papyrifera cv. ‘Renaissance Reflection’

Betula populifolia
Common Name

American White Birch

Paper Birch

Gray Birch
Plant The paper birch reaches about 60' (18 m) in height, rarely up to twice that. The trunk (sometimes multiply stemmed) is typically bright white, up to 12" (30 cm) in diameter, with a Trees tend to be pyramidal when young, becoming more irregular as they age.   Trees reach 33' (10 m) in height, often with multiple trunks, and are pyramid-shaped in form.
Flowers Both male and female flowers occur on the same tree. Male flowers are catkins 2-4" (5-10 cm) long. Female flowers are also catkins, 1-1½" (2.5-3.8 cm) long.   Both male and female flowers are found on the same tree (“monoecious”). Male flowers are yellow-brown, 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long, less than ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, usually drooping; female flowers are green, about 1" (2.5 cm) long, ⅛" (4.8 mm) in diameter.
Leaves Leaves are alternate, ovate, with pointed tips; dark green above, pale green below, yellow in the fall.   Roughly triangular (ovate to deltate or rhombic). They have irregular and sometimes doubled serrations.
Stem Peeling, papery bark. (Compare with gray birch, which rarely peels.) However, young trees consist of a reddish bronze bark that does not peel, and sometimes, especially in western trees, this bark remains thoughout the tree’s life.   Bark is dark reddish brown when young, white as the tree ages. While white birch bark is a brighter color, and tends to peel easily, gray birch bark is tighter, less likely to peel; and darker, more often interrupted by black markings that are often chevron-shaped.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3b-7b

USDA Zones: 3-6
Habitats     Swamp and pond margins; open woods; dry sandy or poor quality soils
Type Wild Cultivar Wild

 

Online References:

Betula alleghaniensis on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Betula alleghaniensis at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Betula alleghaniensis at the USDA Forest Service's Silvics of North America site

Betula alleghaniensis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Betula alleghaniensis at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

References:

Eastman, John; illustrated by Hansen, Amelia, The Book of Forest and Thicket: Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America, Stackpole Books, 1992, p. 30

Sibley, David Allen, The Sibley Guide to Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 156

Little, Elbert L., National Audabon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region, Alfred A. Knopf, 1980, p. 180, 487, 617, 364

Dirr, Michael A., Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs, Timber Press, 1997, p. 54

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/24/2016 · Blue Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, NH

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/6/2011 · Pack Monadnock, 2200', Peterborough, NH
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/2/2010 · Hackers Trail, Cliff Park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, PA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/19/2013 · Squanacook River Wildlife Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/2/2010 · Hackers Trail, Cliff Park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, PA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

6/18/2012 · Vaughn Woods, South Berwick, ME

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/19/2013 · Squanacook River Wildlife Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/2/2010 · Hackers Trail, Cliff Park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, PA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/17/2013 · Leominster State Forest, Leominster, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/6/2011 · Pack Monadnock, 2200', Peterborough, NH
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

10/6/2011 · Pack Monadnock, 2200', Peterborough, NH
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/17/2013 · Leominster State Forest, Leominster, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)

4/24/2016 · Blue Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, NH

Range:

About this map...