Black Birch
Betula lenta
Family Corylaceae

* Leaves elliptical, pointed at the tip, fine-toothed, hairless. Side veins of leaves branched. 1-6".
* Bark brown or black, does not peel. Young trunk has thin horizontal stripes.
* When broken, twigs give off a wintergreen odor.
* Buds and twigs hairless.
* Height: 50-70'.

Natural History:
* Flowers April - May.
* Fruits August - October.
* Habitat: Deciduous forests, near streams and in ravines.
* Range: New England and the eastern United States.
* Native.

* Black birch is also called Cherry Birch and Mahogany Birch, because of its hard, reddish bark.

* The wintergreen smell of broken twigs comes from the black birch's sap, which has been used to make a commercial extract called Oil of Wintergreen. A wintergreen tea can be made by covering cut up twigs with boiling sap and allowing the mixture to steep. Fermented sap has been made into birch beer.

* Black birch wood is hard and rich in color, and is been popular with furniture makers. A certain wavy type of the wood is very valuable.

* Black birch is most common in areas that were recently disturbed by fire or logging. Its small seeds disperse very easily.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008