Common Names: Sweet birch, black birch, cherry birch, mahogany birch, spice birch
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 m tall with a trunk up to 60 cm diameter. In younger trees the bark is characteristic of most birches with smooth bark and horizontal fissures. In some older trees, the bark can (unlike most birches) develop vertical cracks into irregular scaly plates revealing rough darkish brown bark patterns. The twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of oil of wintergreen. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 5 to 10 cm long and 4 to 8 cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3 to 6 cm long, the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, maturing in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.
Found in deciduous and mixed forests.