Birch - Virginia Round-leaf
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Virginia Round-leaf Birch
Betula uber
Birch - Virginia Round-leaf

Uses: Twigs, bark
Acquired: tbd
How started:

Virginia Round-Leaf Birch is a small, rare tree. It is similar to Sweet Birch. The edible twigs and the brown bark of the Round-Leaf Birch, like Sweet Birch, have the taste of wintergreen, which comes from methyl salicylate. A tea can be made from the twigs and bark.

One of the most endangered species of North American trees, the tree was discovered in 1914 by William Willard Ashe, a forester employed by the U.S. Forest Service. The tree was first described in 1918 as a variety of Betula lenta, and elevated to species status in 1945. After it was first discovered, the tree was not seen again and was thought to be extinct until 1975, when some individuals were located. Douglas Ogle, a biology instructor, looked for and found "Betula uber" near Cressy Creek, which was close to Dickey Creek. 18 adult trees and 23 saplings and seedlings were in a forest along the degraded banks of Cressy Creek in Smyth County, Virginia. A possible explanation for the absence of the tree from its alleged habitat is that Ashe reported that he found it at Dickey Creek, when it was, in fact, found near Cressy Creek.

In 1975, the National Arboretum acquired 3 of these trees and started to propagate them. In 1989 trees wer distributed to the private nurseries as a plan to help save the species. The status of the tree is now classified as critically endangered.

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