Plant Guide > Trees > Birches



Genus BETULA, Linn.

Trees with smooth bark marked with conspicuous horizontal slits (lenticels), usually curling back in thin horizontal layers. Leaves simple, alternate, deciduous, serrate, stalked. Flowers monoecious, in catkins. Fruit cone-like, scaly; seed flat, winged.

There is no denying the inferiority of the wood in most species of birch. The toughness and durability of the bark prevent the prompt evaporation of the abundant sap, which ferments and breaks down the wood cells. It is not uncommon to find in the woods a birch trunk with the bark intact, but the wood crumbling like chalk when touched. When the trees are stripped of their bark immediately, after being cut down, the wood seasons properly and lasts fairly well as lumber.

There are twenty-eight known species of the genus Betula distributed over the Northern Hemisphere, and a fugitive species grows in Terra del Fuego! Ten of these are North American, seven or eight Asiatic, and six European. The white birch of Europe extends through Asia to Japan, and is cultivated in many varieties in America.

American White Birch or Aspen Leaved Birch Tree
Canoe Birch or Paper Birch Tree
Cherry Birch or Sweet Birch or Black Birch Tree
Red Birch or River Birch Tree
Western Black Birch Tree
White Birch Tree
Yellow Birch or Grey Birch Tree