Betula alleghaniensis

Yellow Birch




  • native to northeastern North America
  • zone 3
  • common in cool regions; often on north facing slopes

Habit and Form

  • similar in size and form to B. lenta
  • commonly 60' to 75' tall; can reach 100' in the wild
  • pyramidal and dense when young, developing a rounded to irregular crown when mature
  • deciduous medium to large tree
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • alternate, simple leaves
  • 3" to 5"; long and half as wide
  • elongated oval in shape, doubly serrate
  • dull, dark green upper surface, light green underside
  • broken twigs have a wintergreen smell

Autumn Foliage

  • turns a showy yellow


  • blooms in mid to late April
  • monoecious: male and female catkins
  • generally 5 to 8 male catkins per cluster


  • small nutlets held in catkins


  • amber to silvery
  • smooth and exfoliating in thin shreds or rolls
  • interesting and showy


  • prefers cooler environments
  • not as well adapted to heat and drought as B. lenta
  • best in full sun
  • cool moist soils are preferred
  • move B & B or in containers

Landscape Use

  • lawn tree, shade is relatively light
  • shade tree
  • for showy bark
  • naturalized areas; edge of woods
  • perhaps useful because it is not especially susceptible to leaf minor or bronze birch borer


  • doesn't like heat or drought
  • perhaps short-lived
  • stem cankers
  • hard to locate in nursery trade

ID Features

  • amber or silvery bark peeling in shreds or rolls
  • elongated oval-shaped leaves


  • by seed


  • None

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.