Family Betulaceae – Alder, Birch & Hornbeam

Family Betulaceae – Alder, Birch & Hornbeam
Tree Encyclopedia | Trees Index

This family is traceable in the fossil record to the early Cretaceous, 140 million years ago.

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white birch
Archetypical white birch is an outstanding specimen or ornamental landscape tree

Japanese White Birch
Japanese White Birch
Dahurian Birch
Dahurian Birch
European White Birch
European White Birch
Sweet Birch Foliage
Sweet Birch
"Betulaceae belongs to an ancient lineage, traceable in the fossil record to the upper Cretaceous. They are easily distinguished by their woody habit; simple, pinnately veined, usually ovate, sharp-toothed leaves; long staminate catkins that often develop the season before anthesis; and (except in Corylus and Ostryopsis ) strobiluslike infructescences. The family is held together on the basis of many features, including habit, leaf structure and arrangement, trichome morphology, wood anatomy, inflorescence morphology, ovary and ovule structure, pollen morphology, embryo structure, and fertilization and germination patterns. Five of the six constituent genera inhabit the boreal and cool temperate zones of Eurasia, North America, and the mountains of Mexico and Central America, and two genera also grow in the Andes to northern Argentina in South America. The remaining genus, Ostryopsis Decaisne (most closely related to Corylus Linnaeus), consists of two species of shrubs restricted to northern and western China.

Birch grows in climates ranging from boreal to humid and tolerates wide variations in precipitation. Its northern limit of growth is arctic Canada and Alaska, in boreal spruce woodlands, in mountain and sub alpine forests of the western United States, the Great Plains, and in coniferous – deciduous forests of the Northeast and Great Lakes states.

The group is sometimes divided into two families, Betulaceae ( Alnus and Betula ) and Corylaceae (Carpinus , Ostrya , Corylus , and Ostryopsis), especially in Europe. In America, this treatment has been followed by A. J. Rehder (1940), J. K. Small, and a few others.

Some of those writers have based their recognition of two families in part on the belief that a fundamental difference exists in the staminate inflorescences of the two groups. This view is no longer widely accepted, and most modern authors maintain the family as a single group composed of two subfamilies, Betuloideae and Coryloideae."  [1]

River Birch
River Birch

Paper Birch

Arctic Moor Birch
Moor Birch
Downy / Moor Birch
American Hornbeam – Carpinus caroliniana 05/14/2015
Arctic Moor Birch – Betula pubescens subspecies tortuosa 05/14/2015
Asian White Birch – Betula platyphylla 05/14/2015
Dahurian Birch – Betula davurica 05/14/2015
Downy Birch – Betula pubescens 05/14/2015
European Black Alder – Alnus glutinosa 05/14/2015
European Hornbeam – Carpinus betulus 05/14/2015
European White Alder – Alnus incana 05/14/2015
European White Birch – Betula pendula – syn. Betula verrucosa 05/14/2015
Family Betulaceae – Alder, Birch & Hornbeam 05/14/2015
Flowering Plants Index 05/14/2015
Japanese Hornbeam – Carpinus japonica 05/14/2015
Japanese White Birch – Betula platyphylla var. japonica 05/14/2015
Loose-Flowered Hornbeam – Carpinus laxiflora var. macrostachya 05/14/2015
Manchurian Alder – Alnus hirsuta 05/14/2015
Manchurian Birch – Betula platyphylla var. mandshurica 05/14/2015
Manchurian Hazelnut – Corylus sieboldiana var. mandshurica 05/14/2015
Moor Birch – Betula pubescens 05/14/2015
Paper Birch – Betula papyrifera 05/14/2015
Pyramidal Black Alder – Alnus glutinosa 'Pyramidalis' 05/14/2015
River Birch – Betula nigra 05/14/2015
Schmidt's Birch – Betula schmidtii 05/14/2015
Siberian Alder – Alnus hirsuta var. sibirica 05/14/2015
Speckled Alder – Alnus incana 05/14/2015
Sweet Birch – Betula lenta 05/14/2015
Tree Encyclopedia 05/14/2015
Tree Encyclopedia for Mobile 02/10/2015
Tree Encyclopedia Index 05/14/2015
Tree Index for Mobile 05/14/2015
Turczaninov Hornbeam – Carpinus turczaninovii 05/14/2015
White Birch Tree – Betula papyrifera 05/14/2015
White Satin Birch – Betula 'White Satin' 05/14/2015
Manchurian Alder
Manchurian Alder
Loose-Flowered Hornbeam
Loose-Flowered Hornbeam
European Hornbeam
European Hornbeam

Turczaninov Hornbeam
Siberian Alder
Siberian Alder
European Black Alder
European Black Alder
Manchurian Hazelnut
Manchurian Hazelnut

Speckled Alder
Asian White Birch - Betula platyphylla
Asian White Birch

Manchurian Birch
Schmidt's Birch - Betula schmidtii
Schmidt's Birch
Japanese Hornbeam - Carpinus japonica
Japanese Hornbeam
Black Alder Catkins
Pyramidal Black Alder
European White Alder - Alnus incana
European White Alder
American Hornbeam - Carpinus caroliniana
American Hornbeam

Alder catkins and strobiles

Alders are monoecious, that is, they have both sexes present on the same plant. Long, hanging male catkins are produced in the early winter then release pollen the following spring. Tiny female catkins appear at the shoot tips in early spring. These female catkins ripen to form green, woody conelets that after fertilization ripen into open cone-like structures called strobiles, from which the seeds are released.
1., Flora of North America
2. World Health Organization, Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea, Betula platyphylla var. japonica
3. Eun Mi Ju et al., “Antioxidant and anticancer activity of extract from Betula platyphylla var. japonica,”
Life Sciences 74, no. 8 (January 2004)
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Family Betulaceae – Alder, Birch, Hornbeam
The birches have long been popular ornamental trees in North America, chiefly in the northern United States and Canada. Our specimens include river birch, Dahurian birch, paper birch, Arctic birch, Manchurian birch, Manchurian alder, downy birch, Japanese white birch, and 10 other species.
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