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Virginia Roundleaf Birch (Betula uber)

Virginia Roundleaf Birch at the Arboretum Visitors Center A specimen of Virginia Roundleaf Birch, a rare native tree species, is planted in front of the Arboretum Visitor's Center. The only known native population of this tree is in Smyth County in southwest Virginia. It was first collected in 1914 and then rediscovered in 1975. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as an Endangered Species in 1978, and initiated an extensive recovery program involving collection of seeds which were planted in a variety of sites. The recovery plan was sufficiently successful that in 1994 the status of the species was reclassified from Endangered to Threatened. It can now be found in arboreta and botanical gardens and is available to the public for planting.

Virginia Roundleaf Birch Fruit This species has been considered a variety of Sweet Birch (Betula lenta) by some taxonomists. Sweet Birch is found along Arboretum trails (e.g., at the junction of the North Forest Loop Road Trail and the Backwoods Trail). Virginia Roundleaf Birch is a relatively small tree, reaching a height of 40 ft. The rounded leaves and dark bark have a wintergreen smell when crushed. The small cone-like fruit containing small nutlets are prominent on the tree at the Visitor's Center in the fall.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu