Gray Birch
Betula populifolia
Family Corylaceae

* Leaves triangular, long and pointed, 1-4". They flutter in the wind.
* Bark chalky and white, not separating readily into layers.
* Trunks marked by dark triangular chevrons at the bases of each branch, as well as the narrow horizontal markings, called lenticels, of all birches.
* Fruits green, soft, catkins, 1-2" long.
* Height: 20-40'.

Natural History:
* Flowers April - May.
* Fruits in September.
* Habitat: Poor soils; areas such as abandoned fields, roadsides, and dry,gravelly slopes.
* Range: Southeastern Canada to northeastern United States.
* Native.

* Gray birch wood is used for fuel, charcoal, and small woodenware. Ruffed grouse and several species of songbirds feed on the seeds and buds. In autumn, the leaves turn a pale translucent gold.

* A nickname for gray birch is 'Poverty Birch', since the tree will grow in such poor soils.

* Note the triangular shapes on the tree's trunk in the bottom photo at right. These markings distinguish the bark of gray birch from other birches.


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