Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Betula populifolia Marshall
- Family: Birch (Betulaceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: This birch is distinguished by its long-pointed triangular leaves and its smooth
white or bronze bark which peels in thin layers on old trunks.
- Habitat: Moist or dry woods.
- Habit: Tree to 45 feet tall, often sprouting from the base, trunk diameter up to 1 1/2 feet; bark white or bronze, smooth, eventually peeling off into sheets, and with blackish horizontal markings.
- Twigs: Slender, reddish, warty but without hairs.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, triangular, long-pointed at the tip, truncate at the base, shiny, smooth, irregularly toothed, up to 2 1/2 inches long, up to 2 inches wide; leaf stalks slender, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Flowers: Male and female borne separately but on the same plant, both short-stalked, the male crowded into slender spikes up to 3 inches long, the female crowded into short-cylindric spikes.
- Sepals: 1 in the male flower, 0 in the female flower.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 4.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: "Cones" short-cylindric, stalked, up to 1 1/4 inches long, composed of horizontal, minutely hairy bracts and broadly winged nuts.
- Notes: The leaves quake with the lightest breeze.
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