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Vick, Albert F. W.
Betula populifolia Marshall
Gray birch, White birch, Aspen-leaved birch
USDA Symbol: BEPO
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
Maritime provinces to NJ
scattered w. to n.e. IL Native Habitat:
Wet to dry woods; lake margins; old fields
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet to dry, poor soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Songbirds, ground birds and mammals
Larval Host: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Johnstown, PA
Record Last Modified: 2012-10-15
Research By: TWC Staff