Bog Birch Betula pumila
Family: Betulaceae (Birch)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Dwarf Birch, Swamp Birch

This shrubby birch is found in boggy and swampy areas, where is it often overlooked as Speckled Alder.  It's fruit clusters resemble the seed "cones" of alders, though they tend to stand more upright.  When crushed, they reveal the typical birch seed.  Bog Birch does have catkins, but they are very small.   It is also easily confused with Sweet-gale, which also grows in the same habitat and whose clusters of nutlets can resemble the seed clusters of Bog Birch.  Bog Birch is a fairly common shrub in many boggy areas, where it ranges from knee height to a bit taller than person.  

Catkins and buds of Bog Birch

Winter twig of Bog Birch, showing the leaf buds

Another view of the buds

Another view of the winter twig and buds.  The leaf buds can be fairly slender and pointed.

Closeup of catkin buds and seed clusters

When crushed, the seed clusters reveal the typical three-pronged birch seeds

The seed clusters and dead leaves can often be found in the winter

Another view of the leaves

Bog birch

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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