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Yellow Birch
(Betula alleghaniensis)

Key ID Features: Bark, Twig Taste, Habitat, Leaves

Yellow Birch

Other Names: Gray Birch, Swamp Birch, or Sweet Birch

Yellow birch has the characteristic papery BARK of birches, but peels
in a more shreddy fashion. The BARK is a bronze or shiny brown
color. On large trunks, the BARK forms large plates.


LEAVES are 3-4 inches long with double-serrate margins.


Bruised TWIGS have the smell and taste of wintergreen. The older TWIGS are brown-purple, like paper birch, but the recent twigs are a medium gray.


Male catkins are about 1 inch long, form in the fall, and flower in the spring. Small
samaras ripen in paper cones, about 1-1.5 inches long, in the late
summer. Like paper birch, the samaras look like little turkey feet with
hairs on the margins.


Yellow birch can grow to HEIGHTS of 80 feet with DIAMETERS of 2-3 feet. It is a common COMPONENT of northern hardwood stands, especially on cooler and moister sites. Hemlock has very similar site requirements. The Latin name in
some older books is Betula lutea.


Common pests: spongy moth, leafminers, skeletonizers, tussock moths, bronze birch borer.

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