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     If you ever find yourself in a forest of Sweet Birch, with its dark gray bark and lovely yellow fall leaves, you'll be hooked.  This birch forms a beautiful canopy and has hardly any issues with diseases or pests.


     A medium-sized tree, Sweet Birch hosts dozens of butterfly caterpillars including the Mourning Cloak, White Admiral and Canadian Tiger Swallowtail.


     Birch trees, along with Oaks, Cherries and Maples, are considered Keystone Plants because they support the largest numbers of butterfly and moth larvae.  Birds flock to these trees to feast on the caterpillars and feed them to their young.


     Sweet Birch makes a nice specimen, although, if you have room, try forming a copse and adding ferns as a groundcover.


     Fun facts: The twigs of this tree taste like wintergreen, and oil from the inner bark can be used to make tea and flavor food.  Birch trees also can be tapped to make syrup.


     Photo of trunk: Matt Tillett, Oct. 2, 2012.

Birch, Sweet or Black

3 Gallons
    • Latin: Betula lenta
    • Pollinator value: Medium (wind) 
    • Wetland status: FACU
    • Height: 50-70 feet; 15-25-foot spread
    • Light: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil: moist, well drained, sandy
    • Bloom: Green, tinged with red, spring
    • Fruit: Summer, winged nutlet
    • Foliage: Deciduous, gold-yellow fall
    • Landscape: Woodland, pollinator or native garden
    • Resistance: Deer
    • More information and native range here
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