Characteristics of Yellow Birch Tree (Betula alleghaniensis) in the Wild

Betula alleghaniensis
Yellow Birch or Golden Birch (Betula alleghaniensis) is a medium tree species originating from North America. The tree is an icon of the province of Quebec, Canada, where it is commonly called Merisier by residents.

Its original habitat stretches from Newfoundland to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and the southeast corner of Manitoba in Canada, then to Minnesota, and the southern region of the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia. Yellow birch trees grow in USDA zones 3-7 and soil pH 4-8.

Yellow birch trees prefer to grow in cold conditions and trees are often found thriving on slopes facing north, swamps, riverbanks, and forests. Yellow birch does not grow well in dry or hot areas.

Yellow birch wood is considered an important wood in the US and Canada. The wood is widely used for making wood floors, furniture, cabinets, and weapon boxes.

Currently, the yellow birch tree is listed as an endangered flora in Illinois (US state).


Characteristics of Yellow Birch Leaf

Betula alleghaniensis Leaf
Source : Image Library

The leaves are paired, oval, tapered at the tip, 5-13 cm long, and the edges are jagged. In autumn the leaves turn bright yellow.


Characteristics of Yellow Birch Flower

Betula alleghaniensis Flower
Source : Dishman

Male and female flowers appear on the same tree. The male flowers are 2-4 cm long, yellow purple, pendulous and appear in 3-6 groups. While the female flowers are upright, 1-3 cm long, and oval.


Characteristics of Yellow Birch Fruit

Betula alleghaniensis Fruit
Source : Garin

The fruit is ripe in autumn, has a long shape, and the seeds are wrapped in catkin bracts (similar to pine fruit).


Characteristics of the Yellow Birch Tree

Betula alleghaniensis Tree
Source : Webb

Yellow birch trees are usually single-trunked, reaching 15-25 meters high and trunk diameters of 70-90 cm. The tree itself is long-lived, usually, it can survive up to 150 years and some wild species in the forest can live for 300 years.

Adult yellow birch trees begin to produce fruit at the age of 40 years, but sometimes faster, which is 20 years. The optimal tree to produce fruit is a tree with an age of around 70 years.


Yellow birch produces hard and durable wood that makes it a valuable tree in Canada and the US. The wood is also often used in the commercial wood industry.

In the past, yellow birch wood was used to filter alcohol, lime acetate, and oil.

The chopped yellow birch bark is very flammable, so it is also suitable as firewood.

Yellow birch trees can be tapped like Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), but it has less sugar content. Yellow birch tree yields are used to make birch syrup.

Yellow birch tree parts are widely used for medical purposes in the United States as a blood purifier and other uses.


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