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Yellow Birch

Latin: Betula alleghaniensis

Family: Betulaceae

About - largest birch species in North America, the common name referring to the yellowish bark.

 

Description - broad, round and open crown.

 

Leaf - simple, alternate, oval in shape, double toothed, hairy on the underside, on a short stalk.

 

Bark - yellowish when young, with age darkening to bronze/black, thin papery curls, breaks into plates that roll back at the edges, aromatic, and ignitable even when wet.

 

Bud - brown and pointed.

 

Twig - usually hairy, smell and tastes of wintergreen when crushed. New shoots are dull grey-brown and initially hairy.

 

Flower - male flower appears in hanging catkins and female flower in erect catkins.

 

Fruit - cone like (strobiles) containing many tiny 2 winged nutlets in hairy cone scales.

 

Habitat - requires good drainage and constant moisture found in low lying areas.

 

Wildlife Value - buds, catkins, seeds are food for small mammals and birds. Foliage and twigs are browsed by deer and rabbits.

 

Wood - used in flooring and interior finishes, furniture, veneers, and plywood.

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