Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

White oak leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Yellow birch.



Large, height 60' to 70'; diameter 24" to 36"; in the open, trunks are usually short and divide into numerous large ascending limbs that form a broad open crown; under forest conditions, trunks are tall and clear of limbs.


Yellow gray or straw color; peeling freely into thin papery layers that produce a ragged appearance on the main stem and lower branches; twigs light brown, lustrous, and slightly aromatic with oil of wintergreen.


Simple, alternate on stem, length 3" to 5"; oval to oblong, deeply and finely toothed; dull dark green on upper surface and paler beneath; much larger than paper birch; turns bright yellow in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Chestnut-brown winged nutlets contained in a cone-shaped catkin about 1" long.


Common in the northern half of the state on better soils where cool, moist conditions prevail; moderately shade tolerant, moderately fast growing.

Wood uses

Heavy, strong, hard, close-grained, light brown; takes good polish; used for flooring, interior finish, veneers, wooden ware, furniture, and small wooden novelties; excellent for firewood. Oil of wintergreen may be obtained from the bark.

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