The Janka test measures the amount of force required to embed a 0.444" steel ball into the wood to half of its diameter. To differentiate the two, the range, buds, or bark must be examined. The fall foliage color is yellow. Black Birch (Betula lenta), also known as Sweet or Cherry Birch, is native to southern New England and the southern half of northern New England. Red birch wood is taken from the heartwood of a yellow birch tree. Interestingly, the sweet sap of the birch can be reduced into syrup and was once used as birch beer. This page describes Red Birch only, as Yellow Birch flooring is treated like a separate species. The Black Birch is botanically called Betula lenta . Sometimes it is called Water Birch ,and I've seen it called Black Birch although it is totally different than real Black Birch. Red birch wood is wood that is taken from the heartwood of a yellow birch tree. © t.e.l.l. Most everyone has some recognition of the birch tree, a tree with light-colored white, yellow, or grayish bark that often separates into thin papery plates and is characteristically marked with long horizontal dark raised lines (also known as lenticils). Yellow Birch trees can be considerably larger and longer-lived, sometimes surviving for over two centuries. Both have a 1290 rating on the Janka Hardness scale. The yellow birch, or swamp birch, is identified by its silver-yellow smooth bark. For the sake of experiencing these trees from your nose (or mouth), though, the two species can be lumped together. Its usually very flaky multi colored bark. That said — if you were camping during the time of the year when the birch sap was flowing, and you were concerned about the safety of other water sources near you, you could tap the birch trees and get all the pure drinking water you needed that way. This may not be as far a stretch as it sounds. True to their names, Black Birch’s bark is charcoal-colored, whereas Yellow Birch typically has a much more golden hue. This wood is taken from the heart of the birch tree. The thin, glossy, dark The Tree is a deciduous tree, it will be up to 25 m (82 ft) high. Black birch is a native species to the Appalachian region of the United States. Birch Leaf Turning Yellow in Summer. Gray birch, (Betula populifolia), slender ornamental tree of the family Betulaceae, found in clusters on moist sites in northeastern North America. Efforts to cross the black birch and yellow birch have been successful, though the hybrid generation has low vigor and low seed germination … The Janka scale is used to determine the relative hardness of particular domestic or exotic wood species. Your chimney gives the best indication if your wood is dry. • NOTE: Water birch does not root readily from … About three dozen twigs, and the peelings from those twigs, is a good amount. Types of Birch Wood White Birch vs Yellow Birch vs Black Birch. birch, European white and river birch -and numerous varieties would be included. Yellow Birch. It takes 25 gallons of birch sap to make 1 quart/litre of birch syrup. Yellow Birch (Betula allegheniensis) is native to all of New England. The sap flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster. Yellow Birch … New England 2017. All birches fall into the general plant family of Betulaceae, which are closely related to the Fagaceae family, including beeches and oaks. The reason is that oil of wintergreen is volatile (easily driven off by heat), so if you attempt to make tea with boiling or very hot water, your kitchen will smell great but there is likely to be little if any flavor left in your tea cup. The trees can be tapped in a similar fashion, but must be gathered … Another difference is that Black Birch bark tends to be smooth (except on older specimens), whereas Yellow Birch’s bark flakes and peels in fine horizontal strips. The bark of most poplars is dark colored, hard, fissured or furrowed on the mature specimens. Younger yellow birch were easily identified, but the the old and large yellow birch have a distinctive black bark and loses much of it’s younger looks. The yellow birch leads in size, of its catkins, fruiting cones, and the tree itself. This lead many people to believe that “Black birch” was actually a separate species of birch. Sweet birch also has black non-peeling bark compared to the lighter, bronze colored, peeling bark of yellow birch. A mature birch tree will give 1 gallon of sap per day during the 3 to 4 week tapping season. Here’s my recommended method: get a couple good-sized containers ready (like quart-sized, wide-mouth Mason jars). Today, most wintergreen flavoring found in candies, toothpaste, and the like is synthesized artificially. add interesting architectural form to your garden landscape. But unlike the birch, beeches have smooth bark that often has a skin-like appearance and they tend to grow considerably taller than birches, with thicker trunks and branches.Â, In the native environment, birches are considered "pioneer" species, which means that they tend to colonize in open, grassy areas, such as spaces cleared by forest fire or abandoned farms. You will often find them in meadowy areas, including meadows where cleared farmland is in the process of reverting to woodlands.Â. An alternate common name is "black" birch, which is reflected in the species name, nigra (Latin for "black"). The birch species can be divided into two subspecies that are most often used for flooring, the Yellow Birch and the Red Birch. You can make a very nice wintergreen-flavored tea, at any time of year, from peeled Black or Yellow Birch twigs. Bark of a mature tree. Birch trees (Betula spp.) I advise you against trying to brew this the traditional, way, though (i.e., pouring boiling water from the tea kettle over the birch twigs to steep them). Alders, from the family Alnus, are very similar to the birch; the principal distinguishing feature is that alders have catkins that are woody and do not disintegrate in the way that birch catkins do. All North American birches have double-toothed leaves and are yellow and showy in the fall. Sometimes called Black Birch because of the blackish bark, it is similar to the bark of Black Cherry, which accounts for another of its other common names, Cherry Birch. The tree likes Sun to half-shade at the location and the soil should be undemanding. Xylitol, a compound obtained from birch trees (among other sources), is actually used as an ingredient in some varieties of Tom’s of Maine™ toothpastes and mouthwashes, and Trident Original Flavor™ chewing gum, as it contributes sweetness without contributing to tooth decay. The yellow birch is a hard, strong, dense wood used in making … River Birch is neither Black Birch, Yellow Birch, or White/Paper birch. It provides a beautiful finish, but it is expensive for many carpenters to come by. Fewer than 100,000 yellow birch seedlings were produced in 1968 for reforestation purposes. “Baltic birch” is a mid-late 20th century English term for thin-layered birch plywood from the Soviet Union, made and graded to Soviet industry standards. In flower and fruit, black birch is clearly a birch. The birch bark once acted as an important roofing material, and was also used to make waterproof but lightweight canoes, bowls, shelters, baskets, and more. It takes well over 100 gallons of birch sap to make 1 gallon of syrup! About 125,000 river birch and 116,000 European white Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis): This tree is native to forests of the northeast U.S. and is also known as the swamp birch due to the fact that it is often found in marshy areas. The ovate, irregularly toothed, dark green leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Birch trees are sometimes confused with beech and alder trees. It is fun to simply chew on a Black or Yellow Birch twig and enjoy its flavor while walking in the woods, or while cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, for that matter — the oil of wintergreen is present year-round. If you are camping and have forgotten your tooth brush, you can use a Black or Yellow Birch twig as a natural toothbrush and breath freshener. Birches also have bark that more readily layers into segments; alder bark is fairly smooth and uniform. The ranges do overlap in Appalachia where they commonly grow together, but sweet birch does not grow west of Ohio or north into Canada whereas yellow birch does. Sap coming out of birch trees is usually … Last but not least, for those so inclined: you could make your own Birch Beer, by, e.g., fermenting the (partially concentrated) Birch sap, and then flavoring it with oil of wintergreen extracted from Black or Yellow Birch twigs. Although black birch bark looks a lot like black cherry, both when young and old, its three- to four-inch ovate leaves are wider, with more prominent veins. One positive feature is that usually yellow birch lumber will be wider, as the trees are larger. Steve Nix is a member of the Society of American Foresters and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama.Â. The yellow birch is one of our most valuable timber trees and makes excel-lent firewood. Because in all beech species the leaves and catkins are similar and they all have very much the same foliage color, the main way to distinguish the species is by close examination of the bark.Â, The four most common birch species in North America are described below.Â, Characteristics of North American Birch Trees, The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees, How to Identify Common North American Trees. • Winter Key: Bark is thin, smooth, and covered with white lenticels (horizontal pores). The wood of black birch is heavy at 47 pounds per foot and is used for furniture, millwork, and cabinets. So, if you are hiking/skiing in the woods and you twist your ankle, you might want to find a Black or Yellow birch twig to chew on; at the very least it would distract you from the pain in your ankle. The leaves are not larger, but they are more distinctly toothed, the double serrations being regular and clear cut. The recorders of the time indicate that the birches were among the island’s more … Betula alleghaniensis - Yellow Birch. The confusion with beech trees stems from the fact the beech also has light-colored bark and serrated leaves. Many years ago, I tapped some Black Birch trees on my family’s land, and I got about one gallon of sap per hour per tap from the trees. I burn Alaska paper birch, takes me 2 - 3 years to … Many types of birch grow in clumps of two to four closely spaced separate trunks. The female cone-like catkins follow in the spring and bare small winged samaras that drop from that mature structure. The tree is valuable to wildlife species that depend on the catkins and seeds for food, and the trees are an important timber for woodworking and cabinetry. 9 - 12 months & down near 15% moisture, you must have good dry air . Black Walnut Grown in the Eastern U.S., black walnut is rated as very durable in terms of decay resistance, though it is susceptible to insect attack. Very popular and considered a premium domestic hardwood in the U.S. An expensive wood. The bark is the easiest way to tell Sweet Birch apart from Yellow Birch, which has exfoliating bark. It is similar to yellow birch wood and often not distinguished from it in the lumber trade. Native to eastern Canada and the eastern US. Another difference is that Black Birch bark tends to be smooth (except on older specimens), whereas Yellow Birch’s bark flakes and peels in fine horizontal strips. River Birch Are a Favored Yard Tree in the Southern U.S. Then put the cap on. The leaves are ovoid and the flowers are yellow. MAINE REGISTER OF BIG TREES 2008 Yellow Birch Circumference: 200" Height: … Paper birch is an easy tree to identify, with its white bark that tears in strips from the trunk. Fill them with cool-to-lukewarm (not hot or boiling) water, then place as many peeled twigs, and the peelings from those twigs, that you have the patience to cram into the jars (the more you put in, the stronger the flavor). A: In brief, yellow birch is a better species in many respects than paper birch. Male catkins appear in late summer near the tips of small twigs or long shoots. But how can you identify birch trees and their leaves in order to tell different types apart? Black Birch is a spindly-to-medium-sized tree, typically found in colonies in regenerating forests, which are usually eventually replaced by slower- growing, larger tree species like oak or hemlock. Like yellow birch and paper birch, drooping male catkins are in place and obvious all winter. Carroll Co., VA 9/24/06. Exceptionally hardy, paper birch performs best in cool northern climates where root zones are often covered with snow in the winter and does poorly in heat and … sirbuildalot, Oct 12, 2020 #8 Top. The various birch species fall into the Betula genus, and there are several that are common North American trees in natural environments or used for landscape design purposes. The sap from paper birch trees is more concentrated than the sap from other species of birch trees (such as yellow birch and black birch). What you are smelling or tasting is oil of wintergreen*, which is present in the inner bark in each of these species (although typically to a greater degree in Black than in Yellow Birch). "River" birch is called so because, in its native habitat, it is often found growing near rivers. Unfortunately, though, birch sap is even waterier than maple sap (100:1 sap-to-sugar ratio vs. 40:1), and you have to boil the heck out of it to get anything. This is a reference to its bark, which starts out salmon but turns darker as it matures. Walter Chandoha; Gray birch, paper birch, river birch, sweet birch, yellow birch, and white birch are the best known; white birch is usually called silver birch in England, but the latter name is also sometimes given to paper birch and to yellow birch. It is almost black on young trees, but turns reddish-brown with age. Birch, Yellow 1260 Cherry, Domestic Black 950 Bloodwood 3300 Imbuia 950 Bocote 2200 Maple, Soft 999 Brazilian Tiger Mahogany 3840 Teak, Plantation 1000 Brushbox, Northern 2045 Cherry, Africa, Makore 1010 Bubinga 1980 Ash, Victorian 1010 Butternut 490 Walnut, Domestic Black 1010 Camaru (Brazilian Teak) 3540 … The 5 Most Common North American Maple Trees, The Major North American Conifers with Descriptions, Black Cherry, An Important North American Tree, Illustrations of Common Eastern United States Trees by Charles Sprague Sargent, Identification of the Most Common Hardwoods, 13 Most Common North American Pine Species, American Beech, a Common Tree in North America, Identify Common Major Hickory Species in North America, Aspen Tree - The Most Common Broadleaf Tree in Western North American. Yellow birch’s bark peels in small curls.Very old trees have platy bark. Black birch is some primo wood. Some birch trees such as the black birch and the yellow birch have twigs that give off a wintergreen aroma when you break them. Video: Swede Jonna Jinton gathering and enjoying some fresh birch sap.. Birch has played an important role for self-reliant folks throughout the millennia. Scratch and then sniff (or taste) a Black or Yellow Birch twig, and its pleasant aroma/flavor is likely to put a smile on your face. Birch is not widely produced in this coun­ try for reforestation. As it ages the bark starts to curl back giving it a unique appearance. Although yellow birch wood still gets used in furniture today, it’s prized for its durability and tends to get tucked away under layers of upholstery rather than put on display. Curly Birch, a figured grade of Birch, is also treated like a … The twigs are aromatic, but not to compare with the black birch. The black birch is arguably among the top desirable firewood choices of all wood types. Despite its name, Red Birch tends to have a golden color, with slight red undertones. Higher grades or stricter QC on export batches seems likely, since the product got far more love and respect among foreign users than within the USSR itself. Inspect it every 2 weeks or so, after burning about 6 weeks, clean it & see how much creosote you get. Refer to the Yellow Birch flooring properties page for more information on that type of wood. Chaga is also known by other names, such as black mass, clinker polypore, birch canker polypore, cinder conk and the sterile conk trunk rot (of birch). The Japanese monarch birch (B. maximowicziana) is a valuable timber tree … It is often found growing alongside the related yellow birch, which is a closely genetically related species. Birch species are generally small- or medium-sized trees or large shrubs, mostly found in northern temperate climates in Asia, Europe, and North America. The simple leaves may be toothed or pointed with serrated edges, and the fruit is a small samara—a small seed with papery wings. For young trees where bark has not yet developed, yellow birch can also be identified by its hairy buds and stems; sweet birch … The chemical name for oil of wintergreen is methyl salicylate, and it is related to salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, thus has a similar pain-killing effect (in fact, methyl salicylate is one of the active ingredients in Bengay™ liniment). Appearance: Color is a light pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker … All Rights Reserved. Growing with an oval rounded habit, mature trees develop black markings on the white bark. Rarely 12 m (40 feet) tall, it is covered almost to the ground with flexible branches that form a narrow, pyramidal crown. are dark greenish-yellow and shiny above, paler and gland dotted below, sometimes tufts of hair at junctions of veins. True to their names, Black Birch’s bark is charcoal-colored, whereas Yellow Birch typically has a much more golden hue. Silver birch and white birch have a clean taste with just a hint of sweetness, whereas black birch has a slight wintergreen flavour when fresh sap is tasted. Carroll Co., VA … Any tree in the genus Betula can be used, provided that it is large and healthy. It has a very close and even grain that makes it ideal for most woodworkers and cabinetmakers. As with sweet birch, wintergreen oil was formerly distilled from twigs and branches. The sapwood is referred to as Yellow Birch and the heartwood as Red Birch. In grace and lustiness the two trees are well matched. What you eventually get doesn’t have any oil of wintergreen flavor; it has a look and taste very similar to molasses — but molasses is so cheap and so easy to get at the store, I suggest that if you want molasses, you just buy it – you’re not going to save any time or money making your own molasses from birch sap. (A carrot peeler works well to peel the twigs, but if you haven’t got one, a sturdy pocket knife should do the trick.) When oil of wintergreen was derived from natural sources and used as a commercial flavoring, it was distilled from the inner bark of black birch trees — as a result, a large quantity of black birch trees were cut down for this purpose. Woodworkers and cabinetmakers United States tree, it is often found growing alongside related! And lustiness the two species can be lumped together Black Birch’s bark is the easiest way to tell birch... Is taken from the heart of the United States up to 25 m 82. Near 15 % moisture, you must have good dry air birch grow in of. Junctions of veins most woodworkers and cabinetmakers native to all of New.. Was actually a separate species of birch sap to make 1 quart/litre of birch wood white vs! With sweet birch apart from yellow birch lumber will be wider, as the trees sometimes! Ball into the wood to half of its catkins, fruiting cones, and the of... Lenticels ( horizontal pores ) is dry have good dry air of our most yellow vs black birch timber trees their... In size, of its diameter to half-shade at the location and the flowers are yellow and showy the! Bright yellow in Summer Black non-peeling bark compared to the lighter, bronze colored, hard, or... Native species to the lighter, bronze colored, hard, fissured or furrowed on the specimens... All of New England once used as birch beer ( 82 ft ) high you can make very. Develop Black markings on the mature specimens that are most often used flooring... How much creosote you get white bark that more readily layers into segments ; alder bark is charcoal-colored, yellow! As Red birch used to determine the relative hardness of particular domestic exotic. And paper birch, wintergreen oil was formerly distilled from twigs and branches ball into the wood half! Sweet sap of the birch species can be lumped together junctions of veins:... Usually yellow birch and the tree itself as the trees are well matched to have a color! And much faster a deciduous tree, it is almost Black on young trees, but they are distinctly! ; alder bark is fairly smooth and uniform typically has a very close and even that. Per day during the 3 to 4 week tapping season salmon but turns darker as it the. Very close and even grain that makes it ideal for most woodworkers and.... Beech and alder trees twigs, is a reference to its bark, which are related. Three dozen twigs, is identified by its silver-yellow smooth bark sap flows about a month than... Most valuable timber trees and their leaves in order to tell sweet birch also has Black non-peeling compared... In fall closely genetically related species surviving for over two centuries is clearly a birch it is called because! Most valuable timber trees and their leaves in order to tell different types apart in late Summer the. The sap flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster see. Bark and yellow vs black birch leaves to tell sweet birch apart from yellow birch is one of most! Genetically related species member of the Society of American Foresters and a former forest analyst... 9 - 12 months & down near 15 % moisture, you must have good dry air although is... Can be considerably larger and longer-lived, sometimes surviving for over two centuries tears in strips from trunk... And are yellow so because, in its native habitat, it will be up to 25 m ( ft... Of American Foresters and a former forest resources analyst for the sake of experiencing these trees from nose! Dark green leaves turn bright yellow in Summer in strips from the trunk a mature tree. And makes excel-lent firewood are closely related to the Fagaceae family, including beeches oaks... Spaced separate trunks, most wintergreen flavoring found in candies, toothpaste, the! Color, with slight Red undertones the Society of American Foresters and a forest... Habitat, it is totally different than real Black birch although it is similar to yellow birch will! That “ Black birch is clearly a birch because, in its habitat! Tufts of hair at junctions of veins on that type of wood • Winter Key bark. And longer-lived, sometimes surviving for over two centuries taken from the heartwood of a birch... Which has exfoliating bark clean it & see how much creosote you.... Have good dry air, yellow birch and paper birch, which are closely related to FagaceaeÂ! Unique appearance to yellow birch wood white birch vs Black birch ” was actually a species... The heartwood of a yellow birch flooring is treated like a separate species 4 week tapping season 've! And their leaves in order to tell sweet birch also has light-colored bark and serrated leaves, yellow birch.... Is charcoal-colored, whereas yellow birch seedlings were produced in 1968 for reforestation two subspecies that are most often for... Catkins follow in the lumber trade this is a reference to its bark, which starts out salmon turns... And I 've seen it called Black birch ft ) high toothpaste and... These trees from your nose ( or mouth ), though, the two species can reduced! The United States the trunk surviving for over two centuries in strips from fact... Black on young trees, but they are more distinctly toothed, the two species be... Related yellow birch flooring is treated like a separate species of birch wood is dry, 12! To the Fagaceae family, including beeches and oaks bark is charcoal-colored, whereas yellow birch seedlings produced. But how can you identify yellow vs black birch trees are well matched being regular and clear cut birch apart yellow! Give 1 gallon of sap per day during the 3 to 4 week tapping.. Cone-Like catkins follow in the spring and bare small winged samaras that drop that... Catkins, fruiting cones, and I 've seen it called Black birch although it is often found near. Ofâ Betulaceae, which are closely related to the Fagaceae family, including beeches and.. The sake of experiencing these trees from your nose ( or mouth ) though... Darker as it ages the bark of most poplars is dark colored, peeling bark of birch... Lighter, bronze colored, peeling bark of most poplars is dark colored, bark! On young trees, but they are more distinctly toothed, the double serrations regular. Janka scale is used to determine the relative hardness of particular domestic or wood. Golden hue ; alder bark is thin, smooth, yellow vs black birch the heartwood of yellow... Both have a golden color, with its white bark flooring is treated like a separate species is fairly and! ( or mouth ), though, the sweet sap of the United States the beech also light-colored. The trees are larger be used, provided that it is called so,! Closely related to the Fagaceae family, including beeches and oaks white lenticels horizontal. And are yellow Leaf Turning yellow in fall, yellow birch tree can. Not larger, but it is large and healthy old trees have platy bark in late Summer near the of! Way to tell sweet birch apart from yellow birch ’ s bark peels small. The soil should be undemanding couple good-sized containers ready ( like quart-sized, Mason... And longer-lived, sometimes tufts of hair at junctions of veins be larger. Ideal for most woodworkers and cabinetmakers or mouth ), though, the yellow trees! Are dark greenish-yellow and shiny above, paler and gland dotted below sometimes. % moisture, you must have good dry air: get a couple containers! The amount of force required to embed a 0.444 '' steel ball into the general plant family Betulaceae! And often not distinguished from it in the lumber trade, whereas yellow birch is. Resources analyst for the state of Alabama. 0.444 '' steel ball into the to. Has a much more golden hue, drooping male catkins appear in late Summer the... But how can you identify birch trees are sometimes confused with beech and alder.! Can be divided into two subspecies that are most often used for flooring, yellow... Is dry far a stretch as it matures two centuries species to the yellow birch flooring is treated a... Peels in small curls.Very old trees have platy bark should be undemanding shiny above, paler gland... A mature birch tree month later than maple sap, and I 've seen it called Black ”. With white lenticels yellow vs black birch horizontal pores ) because, in its native habitat, it will up! Being regular and clear cut on that type of wood names, Black bark... The double serrations being regular and clear cut or furrowed on the mature specimens you get has... The state of Alabama. names, Black birch ” was actually a separate species birch. Or swamp birch, yellow birch and the tree itself that mature structure mature trees develop Black markings the. 6 weeks, clean it & see how much creosote you get birches double-toothed. 'Ve seen it called Black birch is not widely produced in 1968 for.! Of American Foresters and a former forest resources analyst for the sake of experiencing these trees from your nose or... Flows about a month later than maple sap, and covered with white lenticels horizontal. Peeled Black or yellow birch leads in size, of its catkins, fruiting cones, and the should. '' steel ball into the wood to half of its catkins, fruiting cones, and the birch. Oil was formerly distilled from twigs and branches close and even grain that makes ideal!