Squirrels, Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Butterfly Larvae, Other Showy Insects
This is the largest of the native birches. (Hosie)
Never tear bark from living trees; you could scar or even kill the tree. (Kershaw)
Crushed foliage and twigs give off an odor of wintergreen. The bark is golden-yellow streaked with grey and brown. (Wild Flower Centre)
Inner bark - cooked or dried and ground into a powder and used with cereals in making bread.
The sap is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It flows abundantly, but the sugar content is much lower than maple sap.
The twigs and leaves have the flavour of wintergreen and can be used as condiments.
The bark is waterproof and has been used by first nations as the outer skin of canoes, as roofing material on dwellings and to make containers such as buckets, baskets and dishes. (Plants for a Future)
The bark is yellowish, shining gray with a thin peeling quality. The leaves change from dark green to brilliant yellow in autumn.
Moose, deer and hare forage on leaves and twigs in summer and winter.(Benvie)
Insect Relationships: Besides the larvae listed above, the Brown-Shaded Carpet Moth also leaves its larvae.
Many aphids, leafhoppers, stink bugs, a number of wood-boring beetles and the larvae of several Birch Sawfly take advantage of this tree's benefits.
Because of its thin bark, the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker drills holes and feeds on the sap. The seeds, catkins, and buds are eaten by
such birds as Ruffed Grouse, Common Redpoll, Black-Capped Chickadee, Purple Finch, White-Winged Crossbill and the Slate-Coloured Junco.
Among mammals, the Red Squirrels feed on the seeds; the White-Tailed Deer and Cottontail Rabbit browse on seedlings and saplings and the Beaver gnaws on the bark and wood.
Some vertebrate animals use birches as a source of cover and reproductive habitat. For example, such species as the Red Bat(Lasiurus borealis), Hoary Bat(Lasiurus cinereus) and Silver-Haired Bat(Lasionycteris noctivagans) use trees for summer roosting sites, maternity colonies, and hibernation. (Illinois Wildflowers)
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