Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.
Scientific name: Betula populifolia Marsh.
Common name(s): gray birch, oldfield birch
Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)
-Slender tree with smooth white bark
- dark green
- triangular with a long tapering tip
- 1.5″-2.5″ long and 1″- 2″ wide
-Buds have sharp points that point away from the twig
- male catkins are pre-formed in the summer and over winter, 1.5″ to 2.5″ long when mature in the spring; female catkins 0.5″ long and slender
-The fruit’s thin wings broader than the nutlet
– may be confused with B. papyrifera, which also occurs in wild blueberry fields; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage
-Prefers dry, upland soils
-well drained soils
-seedlings are widely adapted
Dickerson, John. “GRAY BIRCHBetula Populifolia Marsh.” Plant Fact Sheet, USDA NRCS, Feb. 2002, plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_bepo.pdf.