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Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Betula nana

Betula nana L.

Dwarf Birch, Swamp Birch

Betulaceae (Birch Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N)

Swamp birch or dwarf birch is a dwarf shrub that has many branches growing along the ground before turning up at the tips. The small, rounded and toothed leaves are dark green on top and paler beneath.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AK , CA , CO , ID , ME , MT , NH , NY , OR , SD , UT , VT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , MB , NB , NS , NT
Native Distribution: AK to Greenland
Native Habitat: Wet bogs & tundra areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Adapts to drier soils.


Description: Sow seeds as soon as ripe in moist, sandy, shaded soil. Germination is facilitated by exposure to light; never plant too deeply. Seedlings can be transplanted at one year.
Seed Collection: Birch seed is collected by picking the catkins while they are still green enough to hold together. They shatter easily and should be put directly into bags.
Seed Treatment: One month cold stratification compensates for light treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC
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.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Betula nana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Betula nana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Betula nana


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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