Yellow Birch

Yellow Birch

Betula alleghaniensis (formerly B. lutea)

 

ClassificationBetula alleghaniensis

  • Clade: Eudicots/Rosids
  • Order: Beech
  • Family: Cupuliferae (Birch Family)

Height

  • 23 m (80’)

Leaves

Yellow Birch trees have alternate, deciduous, double-serrated leaves. The 11 cm (4”) leaves on 2 cm long grooved petioles show pinnate venation, with 12-15 pairs of veins. The underside of the leaf has long hairs. The normally green leaves turn yellow in the fall.Betula alleghaniensis

Bark

Yellow Birch Bark shows a yellowish, orange-brown, bronze, or silvery colored bark. It peels in thin strips. Younger trees have reddish-brown glossy bark.

Twigs/Shoots

Young shoots are brownish-gray and pubescent.

Catkin

Birch tree flowers are called catkins. Yellow Birch tree catkins, resembling caterpillars, appear on the tree from May-June. They later mature into cone-like structures that release seeds in autumn.

Other notes

  • Yellow birch bark will light on fire when wet
  • Injured twigs smell like wintergreen

Habitat:

Yellow Birch trees grow in moist forests. They are shade tolerant.

Range

  • Common near Bay of Fundy

 

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