Yellow Birch – Betula alleghaniensis
Yellow Birch grows to 15 – 25 meters tall, with large spreading and drooping branches. Its lifespan is generally around 150 years, but some trees can live up to 200 years. The bark of yellow birch is very attractive, and the long drooping branches are almost as poetic as those of the weeping willow.
Yellow birch does well on sites that are shady and moist. This accords with its other common name – swamp birch. It is commonly found in mixed forests with beech, sugar maple, basswood, and hemlock.
The wood of yellow birch is valuable for timber, but the trees can also be tapped for their syrup in the same manner as sugar maple.
Paper Birch – Betula Papyrifera
Paper Birch, also commonly called white birch, is found in all forested regions of Canada. It grows to a height of about 15 meters. It is excellent for landscaping because of its small to medium size, attractive bark and light shade. It makes a pretty center-piece in a garden.
Unlike the yellow birch, the paper birch needs to be planted in full sun to flourish. In the forest, this tree is a colonizer of clearings or after forest fires. It is often found at the forest edge, where it establishes quickly in full sun.
Trunk formations of paper birch vary, with some trees having single trunks and others forming clumps with multiple trunks.