Botanical Name

Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Betula papyrifera

Other Common Names

Yellow Birch(B. alleghaniensis), Sweet Birch(B. lenta), and Paper Birch(B. papyrifera)


Northeastern North America, Central North America


North America, Canada, Alaska

The Tree

The birch tree can reach heights of 70 feet with a diameter of more than 2 feet.


Birch has a fine, uniform texture. Yellow birch has white sapwood and light reddish-brown heartwood. Sweet birch has light-colored sapwood and dark brown heartwood tinged with red.


The wood varies slightly among species.The wood of yellow birch and sweet birch is heavy, hard and strong. Paper birch is lighter and less hard than yellow birch.

Working Properties

Varies with species. Paper birch is easy to work with hand tools; sweet birch and yellow birch are difficult to work with hand tools and difficult to glue, but easily machined.


Widely used for veneer, plywood, doors, furniture, and paneling.


Likely to be rather economical. Birch is similar to maple or oak depending on the species.