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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Spring Birch - Betula occidentalis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4S5
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 5

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Common across most western and many central counties. Rank may be partly based on hybrids involving this and B. papyrifera.
General Description
Small tree or large shrub to ca. 8 m tall with gray to brown bark, only slightly peeling. Twigs glandular, sparsely short-hairy. Leaf blades 2–5 cm long, glandular when young, sparsely white-hairy, rounded to pointed at the tip with sharp-dentate margins. Female catkins 15–25 mm long. Fruit with wings ca. as wide as nutlet (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Western two-thirds of MT and Dawson County; AK and NT to ON, south to CA and NM, east to the Dakotas (Furlow, 1997, in Flora N. Amer. Vol. 3) (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 294

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Margins of streams and wetlands; plains, valleys, occasionally montane (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Spring Birch — Betula occidentalis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from