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Birch
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Birch

Birches
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Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Fagales
Family:Betulaceae
Genus:Betula
Species
Many species, see text.
Also: Classification

Birch is the name of any tree of the genus Betula, in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. These are generally small to medium-size trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate climates. The simple leaves may be toothed or lobed. The fruit is a small samara, although the wings may be obscure in some species. They differ from the alders (Alnus, the other genus in the family) in that the female catkins are not woody and disintegrate at maturity, falling apart to release the seeds, unlike the woody cone-like female alder catkins.

In times past, commercial oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) was made from the sweet birch Betula lenta.

Birches of North America include:

European & SW Asian birches include: Asian birches include: Classification

See also: Trees of Britain, Trees of the world, Birching