Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Betula pumila L.
BETULACEAE (Birch Family)
EtymologyBetula is the Latin name for birch; pumila is Latin for dwarf.
Synonyms (Common Name)Swamp Birch, Low Birch
DescriptionA deciduous, broad-leaved shrub, bog birch occurs in two forms: branching and erect to 12' tall, or matted and prostrate, often growing in large colonies. Bog birch has brown bark. Young branches are hairy, but become smooth with age.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightprostrate-12 feet
LeavesDeciduous, alternate, simple, coarsely toothed, 1/2- 21 /2" long; ovate to round, broad rounded base; underside is greenish-white, hairy when young, smooth with age.
Flower/InflorescenceMale and female catkins on same plant. Male: to 1 1/2" long, elongate, drooping, unstalked at end of twig; female: 7/16 -- 13/16" long, oblong slightly flattened, erect, on small stalks, at tips of new, lateral shoots.
Flowering PeriodMale catkins form in autumn, remain naked over winter; female catkins form in May-June
FruitSamara (dry, winged fruit), tiny (1/8 - 3/16"), roundish, with winged margin, in mature female catkin.
Fruiting PeriodSeptember-November.
RangeNewfoundland to Ontario, south to New Jersey and Wisconsin.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett