It is tolerant to acidic and alkaline soils as well as salt spray, allowing it to thrive in many conditions. The black birch is a medium size tree that seldom grows more than two feet in diameter or reaches a height of 60 feet. They have a diameter of between 0.60 to 1.2 meters ( 2- 4 feet). However, the black birch is not very susceptible to winter killing and is moderately resistant to drought. Betula lenta is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 30 m (98 ft) tall, exceptionally to 35 metres (115 ft) with a trunk up to 60 cm (2.0 ft) diameter. Black birch leaves densely cover the twigs and branches of the canopy in the late spring to early fall. This will continue to occur as long as the tree lives, but the individual bark layers become indiscernible after roughly 250 years of age. Deer do not tend to browse young B. lenta allowing trees to grow in areas with high deer populations, Betula alleghaniensis, a close relative of B. lenta, is, however, heavily browsed by deer. It has a dark brown to greyish black color. 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 male (staminate) catkin is green and 3/4 to 1 inch long. The fruit, maturing in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts. Pistillate catkins form alongside leaves and are present on the ends of short, spurlike branches. In April and May, flowers open. Upon ripening in the late summer/early fall, the fruit breaks apart, releasing its seeds. 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. It can be used to make birch beer. The most important fungi include white trunk rot, while the most prevalent leaf-eating insects include birch tubemaker, http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=11, https://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.flora.fna003_betula_lenta?searchUri=filter%3Dname%26so%3Dps_group_by_genus_species%2Basc%26Query%3Dbetula%2Blenta, https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/betula/lenta/, https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_2/betula/lenta.htm, http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/sweet-birch. Heights of 50 feet (15 m) to 80 feet (24 m) are more typical. The trees can be tapped in a similar fashion, but must be gathered about three times more often. This accounts for a lack of B. alleghaniensis and an abundance of B. lenta where deer populations are high. 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. It is sometimes mistakenly identified as a cherry tree. 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. Staminate catkins hang down from twigs during the winter months and pistallate catkins bud off the ends of short-spur like branches. 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 oldest known B. lenta has been confirmed to be 368 years old., and the species may live even longer than that in an undisturbed ancient forest. Black birch is a beautiful tree as its 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 female catkin is 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length and when fertilied, gives rise to green cones. Closeup of bark beginning to crack and peel its first layer, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T194483A2340770.en, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Betula_lenta&oldid=988224121, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 11 November 2020, at 21:20. 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. Ice damage usually causes death of black birch by making the tree more susceptible to wood decaying organisms. The leaves are ovoid and the flowers are yellow. The Tree is a deciduous tree, it will be up to 25 m (82 ft) high. In general, black birch has low fruit-seed abundance. Removed from its industrial history, it is now primarily found in forests and used as an ornamental tree in landscaping.
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