Dec. 12, 2021

yellow birch, Betula allegheniensis

Yellow birch is a good quality nibble as you ramble through forests or bogs - if you can reach a twig. You too often can't since it's a valuable and large timber tree. The timber industry used to harvest and sell the small branches. That was the source of commercial wintergreen oil and flavoring. And now I learn that birch bark and rotting birch logs are so rich in oil that they make great tinder for starting fires, even if wet. Missed that one in Boy Scouts! You can also make a good quality syrup from the sap. Great tree, but really hard to get close to the flowers. This close up of the male aments (female on the blog page) of a bog tree was brought low with my long pruner. And I'm sure I nibbled after the shoot. Yellow birch grows in CT, GA, IA, IL(E), IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and on SPM. Watkins Lake State Park, Jackson Co MI, 4/26/21. Birch family, Betulaceae.