Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Betula populifolia

Gray birch, White birch, Aspen-leaved birch

Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Betula populifolia (Gray birch)
Vick, Albert F. W.
Gray birch is a narrow, columnar, single- or multi-trunked tree, 35-50 ft. Small, bushy tree with open, conical crown of short slender branches reaching nearly to the ground; more often a clump of several slightly leaning trunks from an old stump. The white, non-peeling bark becomes darker with age. Dark-green leaves turn yellow in fall.

A pioneer tree on clearings, abandoned farms, and burned areas, Gray Birch grows rapidly but is short-lived. A nurse tree, it shades and protects seedlings of the larger, long-lived forest trees. The wood is used for spools and other turned articles and for firewood. Its trunks are so flexible that when weighted with snow, the upper branches may bend to the ground without breaking. The long-stalked leaves dance in the slightest breeze.

Image Gallery:

2 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr


USA: CT , DE , IL , IN , ME , MD , MA , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , VT , VA , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Maritime provinces to NJ & VA, scattered w. to n.e. IL
Native Habitat: Wet to dry woods; lake margins; old fields

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet to dry, poor soils.


Use Wildlife: Songbirds, ground birds and mammals
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Betula populifolia is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2012-10-15