Betula alleghaniensis yellow birch Betulaceae BEAL; Bx, pb; Q;

Betula alleghaniensis.Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Betula alleghaniensis.Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Accessed 7/2014).

Betula alleghaniensis is a tree to 30 m tall, bark shiny, yellow-silvery-gray, peeling in thin, filmy strips, appearing shaggy; old bark dark, rough; crushed twigs slightly aromatic, of wintergreen.

Leaves alternate, (sometimes paired on short twigs) egg-shaped, to 10 cm long, coarsely, tip pointed, base rounded (to slightly lobed), veins below softly hairy, margin sharply toothed. 

Flowers: monoecious (male and female separate on same tree), tiny, in catkins; blooms May-June, wind pollinated. 

Fruit: Catkins to 3 cm long, hairy to 0.4 cm, circular winged nuts; ripen Aug.-Sept., wind dispersed, Sept.-Nov. Seeds, buds and catkins eaten by a few birds and small mammals (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: FAC. 

Frequency in New York City: Very infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Moist woods. Soil pH 4-8 (USDA, NRCS 2010). 

Notes: Twigs eaten by deer and rabbits (Martin et al. 1951). Susceptible to Nectria canker (Nectria galligena, Hypocreaceae; Ascomycotina) with red, bead-like fruiting bodies and Armellaria mellea (Basidiomycotina) shoestring root rot, causes decay of roots and base (Burns & Honkala 1990; Agrios 1988).