Trees , to 20 m; trunks tall, straight, crowns narrow. Bark of mature trunks and branches light grayish brown to dark brown or nearly black, smooth, close, furrowed and broken into shallow scales with age. Twigs with taste and odor of wintergreen when crushed, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, usually covered with small resinous glands. Leaf blade ovate to oblong-ovate with 12--18 pairs of lateral veins, 5--10 × 3--6 cm, base rounded to cordate, margins finely and sharply serrate or obscurely doubly serrate, teeth fine, sharp, apex acuminate; surfaces abaxially mostly glabrous, except sparsely pubescent along major veins and in vein axils, often with scattered, minute, resinous glands. Infructescences erect, ovoid to nearly globose, 1.5--4 × 1.5--2.5 cm, usually remaining intact for a period after release of fruits in fall; scales mostly glabrous, lobes diverging at or proximal to middle, central lobe short, cuneate, lateral lobes extended to slightly ascending, longer and broader than central lobe. Samaras with wings narrower than body, broadest near center, not extended beyond body apically. 2 n = 28.
|Sweet birch, cherry birch|