Carolinian
and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Cherry Birch
Betula Lenta  

Location in Ontario: Cherry Birch is a very rare Carolinian Tree that grows only in the Niagara Region.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Status:
Cherry Birch is identified as an Endangered Species. This is due to its limited range in Canada and loss of habitat.


Row of Cherry Birch, University of Guelph Arboretum

Genus Betula:
Birch trees are easily recognized by their thin sheets of bark. Young birches have smooth, reddish-brown bark with horizontal markings called lenticels. Leaves are simple and alternate. Birch are monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same tree. Seeds are contained in a small nutlet with three lobes and mature in late fall. In Ontario, there are two species; Cherry Birch and Yellow Birch.

Habitat:
Cherry Birch are found growing on moist soils.

Landscape Use:
Cherry Birch is occasionally used as a medium sized landscape tree, with nice form, but is prone to pests.

Leaves:
Cherry Birch leaves are simple, with toothed edges.

??Yellow or Cherry Birch??
Yellow Birch has hairy twigs, whereas Cherry Birch does not.

FALL COLOUR WATCH:  yellow

Flowers: Cherry Birch is monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same tree. The male flowers are in long catkins, and female flowers are upright and cone-like. Flowers appear in May.


Fruit and leaves of Cherry Birch

Fruit: The fruit is a small nutlet, with three narrow lobes, found in the cone-like flowers. The fruit matures in late fall. Seed crops occur after 40 years of growth, usually in two or three year intervals.

Bark: Birches are easily recognized by their thin sheets of bark. Young birches have smooth, reddish-brown bark with horizontal marking called lenticels. Mature Cherry Birch has gray bark.


Cherry Birch has thin gray bark

TREE FACT: The inner bark of both Yellow Birch and Cherry Birch have the fragrance and taste of wintergreen.

Size: Cherry Birch is of medium size reaching 20 metres, and living to over 250 years.

TREE FACT: Cherry Birch is also known as Sweet Birch. Its sap can be used to make syrup.

Wood: The wood of Cherry Birch is a deep, dark red which is why it is sometimes known as Mahogany Birch. The wood is moderately heavy and hard, but it is not used commercially in Canada due to its scarceness.
Specific Gravity: 0.65
Janka Hardness:
1470 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Large Cherry Birch, University of Guelph Arboretum

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