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University of Guelph


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Cherry Birch

GRIPP Cherry Birch Betula lenta

Species name

Betula lenta L.

Conservation Status in Canada

According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), this species was listed as endangered in 2006. It is also listed as schedule 1 and endangered under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).

Distribution and Habitat

Cherry Birch is mainly found in northeastern United States, with one adjacent population being located in southern Ontario. This species grows in close proximity to other species found in Carolinian ecosystems including upland hardwoods and eastern hemlock.

Why This Species Matters

In Canada, Cherry Birch is found in the Carolinian Forest ecoregion. Despite being the smallest forest region in Canada, Carolinian forests host the greatest number of native trees and is considered species rich. Carolinian forests have been fragmented severely as a result of urban development, consequently 20% of Canada’s species at risk are found in this region.


Urban development

What is GRIPP doing?

Protocols to effectively cryopreserve and propagate plants in vitro have recently been developed by GRIPP researchers. Plans are now underway to redistribute trees back into their native range.

  1. Rathwell R, Shukla M, Jones M, Saxena PK. (2016). In vitro propagation of cherry birch (Betula lenta L.). Canadian Journal of Plant Science 96(4):571-578. DOI: 10.1139/CJPS-2015-0331.
  2. Rathwell R, Popova E, Shukla MR, Saxena PK. (2016). Development of cryopreservation methods for cherry birch (Betula lenta L.), an endangered tree species in Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46(11):1284-1292. DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2016-0166.
Read a full report on the conservation status of this species.
Read a full report on the recovery strategy for this species.