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Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
BET-yoo-luh al-leh-gay-nee-EN-sis
Description

The Betula alleghaniensis is a deciduous tree that may grow 70 to 80 feet tall with a trunk 2-3 feet in diameter making it America's largest birch..   It grows in aquatic or wetland habitats. It has showy yellow fall color.  The cone is plump and upright and has many hairy scales that each contain 2-winged nutlets.  The twigs smell like wintergreen when broken, though not as strong as sweet birch (Betula lenta), the only other birch that smells like wintergreen.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Foliage: Fall, yellow   Bloom: Spring       Seed: Late summer  Bark:  Winter

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#bark#wildlife plant#moths#fall interest#seeds#host#squirrels#wet sites#showy bark#owls#exfoliating#fragrant stems#nesting sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#bark#wildlife plant#moths#fall interest#seeds#host#squirrels#wet sites#showy bark#owls#exfoliating#fragrant stems#nesting sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betula
    Species:
    alleghaniensis
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northeastern North America
    Wildlife Value:
    The Golden birch is a host plant for the Mourning Cloak and Dreamy Duskywing butterflies.  Many moths also use this tree as a host plant.  The seeds are eaten by birds.  Northern flying squirrels and northern saw-whet owls use the hollows that often form in this tree as nest sites.  Squirrels (flying and red) often use the exfoliating bark to line or insulate their nests.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Highly deer resistant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 60 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Samara
    Fruit Description:
    An upright hairy cone with 2-winged nutlets inside
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The Yellow birch has yellow blooms in mid to late April - It is monoecious having male and female catkins. It generally has 5 to 8 male catkins per cluster followed by small nutlets held in catkins. It is wind pollinated.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dull darker green surface and lighter underneath val in shape with a pointed tip and a slightly heart shaped (cordate) base.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Showy bark on younger trees is shiny bronze with horizontal thin, papery strips and lenticles.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Description:
    Stems smell like wintergreen when crushed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil