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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.

Online References:

Betula alleghaniensis on www.carolinanature.com

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)

12/12/2020 · Birch Point Beach State Park, Owl’s Head, Maine ID is uncertain

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

11/5/2020 · Highland Green, Topsham, Maine

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Sep 2020.

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Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

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

Range:

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