The Birches
Betula sp.

Bark smooth, in some species peeling into papery layers but not flaky; lenticels becoming conspicuously horizontally elongated with age; leaf-scars alternate, 2-ranked, semi-oval to crescent-shaped; stipule-scars narrow, often inconspicuous; bundle-scars in groups of 3 and rather inconspicuous; fruit a flat seed-like body borne in catkins, staminate catkins generally present on the tree in winter dangling from the branches.

104. Bark close, not easily separated into thin papery layers. 105
104. Bark easily separated into thin papery layers and generally peeling spontaneously. 106
105. Bark dark reddish brown; twigs with strong wintergreen taste. Betula lenta,
Sweet or Black Birch
105. Bark chalk-white; twigs without wintergreen taste, generally roughened with resinous dots. Betula populifolia,
Gray Birch
106. Outer layers of bark chalky-white. 107
106. Outer layers of bark not chalky-white. 108
107. Native species; bark peeling into strips; trunk usually white-colored to the base. Betula papyrifera,
Paper Birch
107. European species; bark usually close; trunk often with blackened ridges at the base. Betula pendula,
European White Birch
108. Bark reddish-brown to light pink, peeling when young and often blocky with age; rare and local in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, commonly cultivated elsewhere. Betula nigra,
River or Red Birch
108. Bark dirty-yellow; common throughout New England. Betula alleghaniensis,
Yellow Birch



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