Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sweet Birch, Black Birch, Cherry Birch
Betula lenta

Family: Betulaceae (beh-tyoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Betula (BET-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: lenta (LEN-tuh) (Info)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Nov 30, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Sweet Birch, also called Cherry or Black Birch, grows native in the cool, mature woods, often near Eastern Hemlock, of southeast Pennsylvania and the rest of the Appalachian Region where the soil is acid of about pH 5 to 6.5, in various spots. It tolerates a medium amount of shade. I first saw one on a hike with Dr Mike Dirr next to the grounds of the Univeristy of ILL in Urbana in 1975, planted in a cemetery in full sun, doing well in neutral pH soil, about pH 6.8 to 7. I saw a few in Batavia, IL, west of Chicago, growing alright, planted in a park district in full sun and neutral pH soil, but they did suffer a lot from drought one dry summer. Beautiful tree with the best yellow fall color of any birch and should be used in landscapes. Some native plant nurseries and large, diverse nurseries offer it. Extract is taken from it to make birch beer.

Positive Nkytree On Nov 4, 2006, Nkytree from Burlington, KY wrote:

I became facinated with Sweet Birch a couple years ago while hiking in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky. I came across a massive moss covered boulder (about 20ft high) in a ravine area which had a medium sized tree growing on top of it. Upon further inspection it was a sweet birch which had over time grown roots over the sides of the boulder to reach the earth at the base. I would like to find the tree again someday and take a picture.

A beautiful tree in form, foliage, and tenacity. Unfortunately it doesnt have the white bark demanded of birches used in landscapes.

Positive ellyssian On May 22, 2005, ellyssian from Lehighton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have a number of these on my property - most are small (10' or so high and no more than 3 inches in diameter), although one is slightly larger, and another is about 60' tall with a 14-16" diameter trunk.

The twigs have a very distinctive wintergreen fragrance - these trees supply both wintergreen flavoring extract and the key ingredient in birch beer.

I discovered that I had this on my land by trimming what I thought were suckers on some oaks last spring - the sap was running and the scent filled the air. These trees seem to like to grow right up against other trees. All but a few of the ones on my property are up against an oak, maple, or sassafras - even the largest one has displaced a trunk of what once was a maple that it grew up next to.

The leaves have a beautiful bright green in the spring, and turn brilliant yellow in the fall.

Neutral smiln32 On Jul 31, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Not a white-barked birch and excellent as a shade tree.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Moscow, Idaho
Payette, Idaho
Batavia, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Burlington, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Batavia, New York
Asheville, North Carolina
Youngstown, Ohio
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Lehighton, Pennsylvania
Quarryville, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Spokane, Washington

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