Canada’s Arboreal Emblems:

Quebec — Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

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Yellow birch is a medium-sized hardwood tree, normally growing up to 25 m tall and 60 cm in diameter with a crown spread of 10 m. It has an irregularly rounded crown and a well-formed bole. Leaves are doubly serrated, 8-11 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, ovate to oblong, with an acute apex. They are coloured dark green above and pale yellow green below. Fruit is an ovoid, short stalked, and erect catkin. Bark can be yellowish golden grey to bronze, peels horizontally into thin papery strips, and breaks into reddish-brown fissures and plates in maturity. Hardiness zone 3b.

Yellow birch has diffuse-porous heartwood that is golden-brown to light reddish-brown in colour. It is hard, often wavy grained, strong, and heavy. It has good characteristics for holding nails and screws and is resistant to splits. It is a fairly good bending wood, but it requires some care in gluing. Yellow birch is not very resistant to decay and is not noted for use as a landscape tree as it demands cool, moist soil in the summer, otherwise it may fall victim to the Bronze Birch Borer Beetle. It is used extensively for furniture, flooring, doors, and cabinetwork, and is in demand for veneers and plywood.

Yellow birch ranges from the southeast corner of Manitoba to the Atlantic provinces and the northeast of the United States. It frequently germinates on rotten logs and stumps.

Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)