Stebbins Gulch Yellow Birch


Yellow birch is a common tree along stream bottoms in Stebbins Gulch.  The peeling bark is distinctive and is so high in oil content that the peelings will easily ignite even when wet.  Survival experts use the peeling bark as an emergency source of tinder to light fires.  These trees can grow up to 100 feet tall, making them one of the largest hardwoods in North America.  It is one of the characteristic trees of riparian (streamside) habitats, and is also called “swamp birch” because of its preference for rich, moist soils and wet areas. The bark and twigs emit a strong but pleasant smell of wintergreen when crushed.
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