Also known as bog birch, swamp birch and dwarf birch, scrub birch is a shrub with resin-filled wart-like glands on its twigs and nearly circular, deciduous and leathery leaves. Its flowers are male and female catkins up to 3 centimetres long.
RANGE & HABITAT
Scrub birch is native to the northern part of Canada and Greenland and to higher elevations in areas as south as California. At lower elevations, it’s usually found near wet or boggy areas while at higher elevations it is found in drier areas.
When the female catkins are pollinated, they forms small nutlets that each contain a single seed and drop when they are ripe in the autumn.
Although it is not particularly nutritious, moose and snowshoe hare graze on the leaves and twigs of the scrub birch, while ruffed grouse eat the buds and seeds.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
Occasionally, First Peoples used the flowers for respiratory problems and to help during childbirth.
Gardeners plant scrub birch as ornamental plants.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Plants for a Future