Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Betula alleghaniensis Britton
- Family: Birch (Betulaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This birch is recognized by its wintergreen scent and its gray, yellow, or bronze bark.
- Habitat: Rich woods.
- Habit: Tree to 90 feet tall; bark gray, yellow, or bronze, often shiny, separating into thin layers.
- Twigs: Gray-brown, slender, with the scent of wintergreen, smooth or sparsely hairy; buds ovoid, brown, hairy, about 1/3 inch long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate to broadly oblong, pointed at the tip, rounded or rarely slightly heart-shaped at the base, finely double-toothed, soft hairy on the veins beneath, up to 4 inches long, up to 2 inches wide; leaf stalks up to 1/2 inch long.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately but on the same tree, the male flowers crowded into slender spikes up to 3 1/2 inches long, the female flowers crowded into ovoid to nearly spherical spikes about 3/4 inch long, the latter with hairy scales subtending each flower.
- Sepals: 1 in the male flowers, 0 in the female flowers.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 2.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; styles 2.
- Fruits: Many nutlets in an ovoid "cone," consisting of winged nutlets subtended by 3-lobed scales.
- Notes: This species used to be known as B. lutea The wood of this species is important in making cabinets. Sweet birch (Betula lenta) has an even stronger wintergreen scent to the twigs and inner bark.
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