A unique birch species that is an endangered species at risk in Ontario. Boasts shiny and smooth red-brown bark when younger, turning to a brown-black bark at maturity. Attracts butterflies and is a caterpillar larval host. Beautiful golden yellow leaves in the fall. Prefers fertile and moist well drained soils in part shade to full sun. Can tolerate rocky and dry sites, but not hot and dry.
Crushed stems smell like wintergreen. Be aware that the essential oil created from the bark contains methyl salicylate which is toxic when taken orally or absorbed through the skin. Trees can be tapped similar to Sugar Maples in Spring and the fermented sap can be made into birch beer.
Ontario Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7 (Find out your Hardiness Zone here)