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Birch is the name of any tree of the genus Betula, in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. These are generally small to medium-size trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate climates. The simple leaves may be toothed or lobed. The fruit is a small samara, although the wings may be obscure in some species.

In times past, commercial oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate[?]) was made from the sweet birch, Betula lenta.

Birches of eastern North America include:

  • Betula allegheniensis -- yellow birch
  • Betula glandulosa -- dwarf birch
  • Betula lenta -- sweet birch (or black birch)
  • Betula michauxii -- Newfoundland dwarf birch
  • Betula nigra -- river birch
  • Betula papyrifera -- white birch (or paperbark birch)
  • Betula populifolia -- gray birch
  • Betula pumila -- swamp birch
  • Betula pendula -- Silver birch, is native to Europe and parts of Asia.

Above; bark of Siver birch (Betula pendula)

Above; timber of Silver birch (Betula pendula)

See also; Trees of Britain, Trees of the world

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