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Betula lenta

Betula lenta L.

 

Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice 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
SpecieslentaStrong, but flexible

About plant names...

Black birch is a North American native. Many of its common names, such as sweet birch and spice birch, derive from the oil of wintergreen released from its twigs. The tree was once used as a source of birch beer and oil of wintergreen.

Plants: A mid-sized deciduous tree up to 82' (25 m) high, with a trunk that can reach 24" (60 cm) around. Twigs release the scent of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) when scraped. Bark is reddish brown to black. Trees are quite often infected with nectria canker.

Leaves: Alternate, ovate, simple, 1¾-4" (5-10 cm) × 1-3" (3-8 cm), with finely serrated margins. The leaves contain many roughly parallel veins, emerging from the leaf spine and tilted forward about 45°.

Flowers: Male flowers are hanging catkins ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) long. Female catkins are ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm), and erect, green tinged with red.

Fruits: In the fall, the catkins produce cone-like aggregates comprised of multiple tiny winged seeds. Typically trees do not produce seeds until they are at least 40 years old.

Online References:

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

Betula lenta on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Betula lenta on Wikipedia

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

4/14/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

I rarely see this tree much bigger than 12 inches in diameter. This one is over three feet. · 3/6/2016 · Sheldrick Forest Preserve, Wilton, NH

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

8/27/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 15 × 10" (37 × 25 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

9/24/2017 · Andres Institue of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

8/16/2012 · Mt. Tom State Reservation, Dynamite Trail, Holyoke, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Betula lenta description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 3 Jul 2017.

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Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

A storm-damaged tree, showing the orange color of the inner bark. · 6/7/2015 · Oak Hill, Tophet Chasm Trail, Littleton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

11/26/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 19 × 28" (47 × 70 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

5/21/2014 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 15 × 10" (37 × 25 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

8/9/2012 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Big Tree Trail, Hollis, NH

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

LAOWA Venus Lens Experiments · 2/18/2016 · Big Tree/Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

5/21/2014 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

We think of trees as oxygen producers, but they also need some, which they absorb through these lenticels, horizontal pores that permit gas excahnge. · 6/18/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Betula lenta (Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Sweet Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch)

8/9/2012 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Big Tree Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Range: Zones 3-8:

About this map...