Carolinian
and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Yellow Birch
Betula Alleghaniensis  

Location in Ontario: Yellow Birch grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward.


Yellow Birch, Norfolk County

Genus Betula:
Birch trees are easily recognized by their thin sheets of bark. Young birches have smooth, reddish-brown bark with horizontal marking 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: Yellow Birch trees are found growing on moist soils.


Landscape Use:
Yellow Birch is not often seen as a landscape tree, as it requires cool, moist soil in the summer.

Leaves:
Yellow Birch leaves are alternate and simple, with toothed edges.

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

FALL COLOUR WATCH:  yellow

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

Flowers: Yellow 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.

TREE FACT: Birch seedlings often germinate on rotting logs.


Backus Woods, Norfolk County

Fruit: The fruit is a small nutlet, with three narrow lobes, found in the cone-like flowers. The fruit matures in late fall.

Bark: Yellow Birches have papery shreds of yellowish bark.


Flaky yellow-tinged bark

Size: Yellow Birch is a medium sized tree, reaching 25 metres in height and living to 150 years.

Wood: Yellow Birch wood is moderately heavy and hard. It is used for furniture, railroad ties and veneers.
Specific Gravity: 0.62
Janka Harness:
1260 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Yellow Birch in early spring, Norfolk County

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