Privacy policy. Black birch was once harvested extensively to produce oil of wintergreen—the tree was borderline endangered until the 1950s-60s when synthetic oil of wintergreen appeared. It has a dark brown to greyish black color. Sweet Birch, also called Cherry or Black Birch, grows native in the cool, mature woods, often near Eastern Hemlock, of southeast Pennsylvania and the rest of the Appalachian Region where the soil is acid of about pH 5 to 6.5, in various spots. The black birch is monoecious with male and female catkin flowers. Black birch seeds at a prolific rate and quickly colonize disturbed areas. This, however, only occurs in mature, or ancient, trees and these specimens are not often identified by the public as B. lenta due to the difference between the tree's smooth young bark (which the public is most familiar with) and the tree's rough, cracked and plated mature bark. They have a diameter of between 0.60 to 1.2 meters ( 2- 4 feet). It can be used to make birch beer. Black birch is native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario, and south down through the Appalachian region into Georgia. Found in moist ravines and cool forests with well drained, moist, deep, and rich soil, but also can occasionally be found in rocky or shallow soils. The leaves are ovoid and the flowers are yellow. The female (pistallate) catkin forms in early spring within lateral buds, appearing within the leaves of the tree. In younger trees the bark is characteristic of most birches, with smooth bark and distinct horizontal lenticels. Due to the cracking and developing of bark plates, a rough age estimate of B. lenta can be determined by how many bark layers a tree has. Black birch habitats average about 45 inches of precipitation per year, half of which falls in the growing season, and average annual temperatures of 45° F to 56° F with extremes from 74° F to 15 °F. The oldest known B. lenta has been confirmed to be 368 years old.,[3] and the species may live even longer than that in an undisturbed ancient forest. Certain specimens have grown up to 1.6 m or 5.2 feet in diameter and 52 m or 171 feet tall. It is tolerant to acidic and alkaline soils as well as salt spray, allowing it to thrive in many conditions. A characteristic feature of the twigs of the black birch is that when broken, they have a strong wintergreen aroma. Birch sap can be boiled the same as maple sap, but its syrup is stronger (like molasses). Black birch was once harvested extensively to produce oil of wintergreen—the tree was borderline endangered until the 1950s-60s when synthetic oil of wintergreen appeared. The sap flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster. Black birch trees are classified as intolerant of shade and in densely populated areas where there is no access to sunlight, the trees will succumb to competition. From the Hudson River Valley to Lake Erie, except along the higher mountains, in moist or dry, gravelly soils, this tree is well known to boys and girls for the wintergreen flavor of its twigs. The leaves of this species serve as food for some caterpillars and the solitary leaf-cutter bee Megachile rubi cuts pieces from the leaves to line the cells of its nest.[5]. They are singly or irregularly doubly serrated on their margins. Black birch trees have ascending branches with thin, hariless twigs that are dark red/brown in color. Black birch makes the best tea. Black Locust trees usually grow to between 12 to 30 meters high, or 40 to 100 feet high. The bark resembles that of black cherry: lustrous, smooth, and dark red on young trees, and black, with loose, curled, scaly black plates on old trees. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 5 to 10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long and 4 to 8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) broad, with a finely serrated margin. Staminate catkins hang down from twigs during the winter months and pistallate catkins bud off the ends of short-spur like branches. The female catkin is 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length and when fertilied, gives rise to green cones. The leaves tend to be 2 to 4 inches long and are a dark, shiny green during the summer, turning bright yellow and gold in the fall. The Black Birch, Betula lenta, is an American native tree that grows naturally throughout the east, from Maine, through the Appalachian Mountains into northern Georgia and into Kentucky and Alabama. Black birch leaves densely cover the twigs and branches of the canopy in the late spring to early fall. They fall from mid-September to November, and in natural conditions will normally germinate the following spring. Heights of 50 feet (15 m) to 80 feet (24 m) are more typical. Generally the tree's smooth young bark begins to split around 40–50 years of age, that then begins to peel off the trunk around the age of 70-80 and is then replaced by another layer of bark, the second set will begin to peel around 130–150, and the third will peel when the tree has reached 200–210 years and achieved old growth status. It is formed in the late summer or early autumn, hangs down from thin twigs in the winter, and opens up in the spring to release its pollen. Black birch leaves are simple, alternate, elliptical to ovate with an acute tip and cordate base. A characteristic feature of the twigs of the black birch is that when broken, they have a strong wintergreen aroma. However, the black birch is not very susceptible to winter killing and is moderately resistant to drought. The Black Birch is botanically called Betula lenta . The Tree is a deciduous tree, it will be up to 25 m (82 ft) high. Black birch is a lovely tree and produces beautiful wood that darkens with age, so no reason to begrudge its recent or anticipated successes. Specifically, the black birch is fairly resistant to glaze (ice) in comparison to other hardwood species of the northern hemisphere. This accounts for a lack of B. alleghaniensis and an abundance of B. lenta where deer populations are high.