Betula alleghaniensis
Common name: 
Yellow Birch
BET-u-la al-le-GHE-ni-en-sis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, to 60-80 ft (18-25 m) tall, crown irregularly rounded, branches wide spreading with drooping tips.  Bark thin reddish-brown when young, becoming yellow with thin papery shreds, not easily peeled, with age separating into ragged-edged plates.  Leaves simple, alternate, ovate to oblong-ovate, 8-11 cm long, tip slender, sharp pointed, base rounded, margin double toothed, 9-11 pairs of veins each vein ending in a tooth, deep yellowish-green above, lighter below.  Male (pollen) catkins 2 cm wide and 2-3 mm wide by fall, about 8 cm long at pollination.  Female cone (seed cone) about 3 cm long, erect on spur shoots; ripen in early fall.
  • Sun
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3       Native from Newfoundland to Manitoba, south to the highest peaks of Tennessee and Georgia.  The Provincial Tree of Quebec.
  • Closely related to and resembles B. lenta, Sweet Birch or Black Birch, some contrasting features are given below (Farrar, 1995).  I don't know how accurate or useful they are; any comments?:
     Characteristic  B. alleghaniensis  Yellow Birch  B. lenta   Sweet Birch
      Height    frequently over 65 ft (20 m)    seldom reaching 65ft (20 m)
      Buds    mostly hairy, pressed against twig    mostly hairless, diverging from twig
      Cone scales    5-7 mm long, hairy    6-12 mm long, hairless
      Leaves and young twigs
      when chewed
       moderate wintergreen flavor    strong wintergreen flavor
      Bark    reddish brown, becoming dull yellow    dark cherry red to blackish, then grayish

  • Oregon State Univ., North Willamette Research and Extension Center, Aurora.
  • Salem, Oregon: North side of Bush Pasture Park


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, spring

    plant habit, spring

  • leaves and spent catkins

    leaves and spent catkins

  • elongating shoot, leaves

    elongating shoot, leaves

  • spent cones and young leaves

    spent cones and young leaves

  • immature cones, late summer

    immature cones, late summer

  • cones, fall

    cones, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • trunk, young and old bark

    trunk, young and old bark

  • winter twig, buds

    winter twig, buds