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.

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

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


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