White Birch Gray Birch Oldfield Birch Poplar Birch Poverty Birch Small White Birch

=Habitat and Range.=--Dry, gravelly soils, occasional in swamps and

frequent along their borders, often springing up on burnt lands.

Nova Scotia to Lake Ontario.

Maine,--abundant; New Hampshire,--abundant eastward, as far north as

Conway, and along the Connecticut to Westmoreland; Vermont,--common in

the western and frequent in the southern sections; Massachusetts, Rhode

Island, and Con

South, mostly in the coast region, to Delaware; west to Lake


=Habit.=--A small tree, 20-35 feet high, with a diameter at the ground

of 4-8 inches, occasionally much exceeding these dimensions; under

favorable conditions, of extreme elegance. The slender, seldom erect

trunk, continuous to the top of the tree, throws out numerous short,

unequal branches, which form by repeated subdivisions a profuse, slender

spray, disposed irregularly in tufts or masses, branches and branchlets

often hanging vertically or drooping at the ends. Conspicuous in winter

by the airy lightness of the narrow open head and by the contrast of the

white trunk with the dark spray; in summer, when the sun shines and the

air stirs, by the delicacy, tremulous movement, and brilliancy of the


=Bark.=--Trunk grayish-white, with triangular, dusty patches below the

insertion of the branches; not easily separable into layers; branches

dark brown or blackish; season's shoots brown, with numerous small round

dots becoming horizontal lines and increasing in length with the age of

the tree. The white of the bark does not readily come off upon clothing.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds somewhat diverging from the twig; narrow

conical or cylindrical, reddish-brown. Leaves simple, alternate, single

or in pairs, 3-4 inches long, two-thirds as wide, bright green above,

paler beneath, smooth and shining on both sides, turning to a pale

shining yellow in autumn, resinous, glandular-dotted when young; outline

triangular, coarsely and irregularly doubly serrate; apex taper-pointed;

base truncate, heart-shaped, or acute; leafstalks long and slender;

stipules dropping early.

=Inflorescence.=--May. Sterile catkins usually solitary or in pairs,

slender-cylindrical, 2-3 inches long: fertile catkins erect, green,

stalked; bracts minutely pubescent.

=Fruit.=--Fruiting catkins erect or spreading, cylindrical, about 1-1/4

inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter, stalked; scales 3-parted above the

center, side lobes larger, at right angles or reflexed: nuts small,

ovate to obovate, narrower than the wings, combined wings from broadly

obcordate to butterfly-shape, wider than long.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England, growing in every

kind of soil, finest specimens in deep, rich loam. Were this tree not so

common, its graceful habit and attractive bark would be more appreciated

for landscape gardening; only occasionally grown by nurserymen, best

secured through collectors; young collected plants, if properly

selected, will nearly all live.

1. Branch with sterile and fertile catkins.

2. Sterile flower, back view.

3. Fertile flower.

4. Scale of fertile flower.

5. Fruiting branch.

6. Fruit.

=Betula papyrifera, Marsh.=