Sweet Birch (Black Birch)
Family: Betulaceae (View Members of Betulaceae)

Genus and Species: Betula lenta

Leaves: The leaves are 2.5-5" (6-13cm) long and 1.5-3" (4-7.5cm) wide. (View Measured Leaf) They are ovate, long-pointed and doubly saw-toothed. At the base of the leaf, there are generally less teeth. They are dark green on top and lighter underneath. (View Leaves)

Bark: The bark is typically darker brown and shiny, almost black, hence "Black Birch". It can often separate into scaly and shaggy plates and ridges.(View Bark) The twigs are dark brown and hairless. When the twigs are broken and crushed, they give off a strong wintergreen scent.

Fruit: The cones are cylindrical, 1-1.5" (2.5-4cm) long, green at first, brown when ripe. They easily break into hairless scales and 2-winged nutlets.(View Fruit)

Tree: The tree is 50-80' (15-24m) tall, with spreading branches and gives off a sweet smell if any leaves or twigs are broken, hence "Sweet Birch". A picture is present to the left.

Range and Habitat: The Sweet Birch is often found from Maine south to Alabama and north to Ohio. Often found in moist climates that are not too warm.

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Sweet Birch Tree (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 9/29/02)