E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Betula pumila L.
bog birch (glandular birch; low birch; scrub birch; swamp birch)
Betulaceae (Birch family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16469)

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Distribution of Betula pumila
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Betula pumila var. glandulifera

Species Information

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Deciduous shrub, 0.5-3 m tall; twigs densely hairy, slightly glandular.
Alternate, deciduous, thick and leathery in texture, 1-4 cm long, stalks less than 1 cm long, 4 or more lateral veins, with 10 or more coarse teeth on each side.
Male and female flowers in separate catkins 1.5-2 cm long; flowers emerging before or with the leaves; catkins breaking up at maturity.
Nutlets with narrow wings, 1/2 the width of the body of the nutlets.
This species apparently hybridizes with B. pendula and B. papyrifera in our area (Brayshaw 1996b).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist bogs, fens, marshes, meadows and seepage slopes in all vegetation zones; frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare in extreme SW BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ, and S to WY and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Betula pumila

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 410 983 1880
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
22 327 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(12), ESSF(6), ICH(4), IDF(1), MS(4), SBPS(15), SBS(29), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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