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Tree Species of the World's Boreal Forests

Herbs, Shrubs and Other Plants

GLOSSARIES
Terminology | Pictorial

   
Betula alleghaniensis
Yellow Birch
Betulaceae (Birch Family)

A large shade tree with broad, rounded crown of drooping branches, growing to a height of 21 - 30 m and a diameter of 0.8 m.

Description

Yellow Birch Distinguishing Features - Leaves: 7.5 - 13 cm long,; elliptical, short-pointed or rounded at base; sharply and doubly saw-toothed; with about 10 veins on each side; hairy when young; dark dull green above, light yellow-green beneath; turning bright yellow in autumn. Bark: shiny yellowish or silvery-gray; separating into papery curly strips; becoming reddish-brown and fissured into scaly plates. Twigs: greenish-brown, slender, hairy. Flowers: tiny; in early spring. Male yellowish, with 2 stamens, many in long drooping catkins near tip of twigs. Female greenish, in short upright catkins back of tip of same twig. Cones: 2 - 3 cm long; oblong; hairy; brownish; upright; nearly stalkless; with many hairy scales and 2-winged nutlets; maturing in autumn.

Habitat

In Canada from southeastern Manitoba, through southern Ontario and Quebec, to southern Newfoundland; south through the U.S. Mid-West to New England and Eastern Seaboard; in cool, moist soil conditins in uplands including mountain ravines; with hardwoods and conifers.

Notes

One of the largest hardwoods in northeastern North America, Yellow Birch is made into veneers for cabinet and furniture manufacturing; also a very popular firewood.

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