yellow birch Betulaceae Betula
alleghaniensis Britton symbol: BEAL2
Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate, 4 to 6 inches long, pinnately-veined, acute tip, rounded base, doubly serrate margins, somewhat soft or fuzzy, dark green above and paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males are preformed catkins occuring near ends of twig, 1 inch long, reddish green; females are upright 5/8 inches long, reddish green; appear or elongate (males) in the spring.
Fruit: Cone like, 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long, rather plump, upright, with many hairy scales containing 2-winged nutlets, matures in fall and disperse over winter.
Twig: Slender, green-brown and hairy when young, light-brown and smooth later; spur shoots present on older trees; buds are ovoid, sharply pointed, reddish brown with ciliate scale margins. Twigs have a wintergreen smell when broken.
Bark: On younger stems shiny bronze (sometimes gray), peeling horizontally in thin, curly, papery strips; older trees develop red-brown scaly plates.
Form: A medium size tree to 75 feet with an irregular crown.
Looks like: sweet birch - paper birch - hornbeam - hophornbeam
Additional Range Information: Betula alleghaniensis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting yellow birch.
More Information: Fall Color - Wood - Landowner Factsheet
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson