Betula lenta – Black Birch

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Black Birch (Betula lenta) is a native tree with edible sap and cambium (inner bark). Young leaves and trigs can also be eaten or used for flavoring.
Black birch has shiny bark with horizontal lenticels (raised pores). Broken twigs have a wintergreen scent from the methyl salicylate in the tree.
Twigs can be used for tea. Boiling water should not be used, as it can destroy the flavor of the volatile oils.
Black birch sap can be drunk or used to make a syrup or beer.
Young black birch trees could be confused with cherry trees, but cherry twigs lack a wintergreen scent when crushed.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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