Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: New Brunswick, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories (islands offshore Quebec), Maine, New York, New Hampshire. West of its range from Ontario to B.C., Northwest Territories (continental) and Alaska, Betula minor is replaced by a closely related species, Betula occidentalis. The possible combination of the two taxa into one transcontinental taxon is not excluded (Hulten, 1968).

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N.B., Nfld., N.S., Ont., Que.; Maine, N.H., N.Y.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs , erect, irregularly spreading, or depressed, to 5 m. Bark dark, reddish brown, smooth, close, not readily exfoliating; lenticels pale, horizontally expanded. Twigs without odor and taste of wintergreen, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, often dotted with resinous glands. Leaf blade ovate with 2--6 pairs of lateral veins, 1.5--5.5(--8) × 1.5--3(--5) cm, base rounded or cuneate to truncate, margins coarsely doubly serrate, teeth obtuse to rather sharp, toothed nearly to base, apex acute to obtuse; surfaces abaxially glabrous to moderately pubescent, usually more densely pubescent along major veins, often covered with small resinous glands. Infructescences erect, cylindric 1--3 × 0.5--1 cm, shattering with fruits in fall; scales glabrous to moderately pubescent, lobes diverging at middle, central lobe elongate, apex obtuse, lateral lobes ascending, as long as to nearly shorter and broader than central lobe. Samaras with wings equal to or broader than body, broadest near summit, extending beyond body apically. 2 n = 56.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Betula papyracea Aiton var. minor Tuckerman, Amer. J. Sci. Arts, 45: 31. 1843; B. pubescens Ehrhart subsp. minor (Tuckerman) A. Löve & D. Löve; B. saxophila Lepage
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: U.S.: In NY, NH and ME: Alpine meadow and on the edge of Krummholz. Newfoundland: protected outcrops at margins of peatlands, rocky alpine cliffs and ravines, limestone barrens, gravelly river banks, dry serpentine ridges. Northwest Territories: At the edge of a sand terrace. Novia Scotia: Barrens, low thicket in a bog. Quebec: Varies according to the latitude. Quebec sub-arctic zone: Well-drained till, rock and lichen tundra, outcrops, krummholz, rocky and sandy stream shores, burned areas, bogs, hills. Quebec boreal zone: Alpine summits and rocky slopes, barrens, crevices and talus of serpentine, subalpine open forests, limestone ledges of rivers, limestone sea-cliffs. New Brunswick: no information.

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Rocky slopes, barrens, and subalpine summits; 1000--2000m.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Under the taxonomy of Betula minor sensu lato, 4 sites noted in Flora of New Brunswick, 100 occurrences in Quebec, 6 in Labrador, 10 on the island of Newfoundland, 1 in Nova Scotia and 3 in the NW Territories in Hudson Bay adjacent to Quebec. Fewer than 15 in the U.S. (NY, ME, NH).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering late spring.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Betula minor

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: With this species considered in the broad sense there are at least 130-140 occurrences. The taxon is not rare in Quebec but some of the U.S. occurrences are under threat. Taxonomically questionable. It may be eventually segregated into different species or hybrids.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: U.S. populations declining from hiking pressures, but for most of North American range, pressures are low.

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Threats

Comments: U.S. populations declining from hiking pressures, but for most of North American range, pressures are low.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Revise taxonomy of the Betula minor complex and conduct genetic studies of distinct populations throughout its range. Eventually, conduct a comparative study of Betula minor S.L. with the western B. occidentalis and with affine Eurasian dwarf white birch species.

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Wikipedia

Betula minor

Betula minor, Newfoundland dwarf birch, is a species of birch which can be found in Eastern Canada and in such US states as Maine, New Hampshire, and New York.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dwarf white birch". USDA. Plants Profile. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 


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Notes

Comments

The origin and relationships of this small birch have not been adequately determined. Betula minor resembles B . pubescens (as B . odorata Bechstein) of Greenland and northern Europe (M. L. Fernald 1950), and it has been combined into that species (A. Löve and D. Löve 1966). Northern and maritime populations of the complex have often been segregated as a separate species ( B . borealis Spach sensu M. L. Fernald 1950; B . saxophila of E. Lepage 1976); the name B . minor has been mostly restricted to the subalpine form of northern Appalachian peaks. These two taxa actually constitute a single, somewhat variable, morphologic entity; they are indistinguishable by the minor character differences that have been used to separate them in the past. Because Spach's type of B . borealis consists of material of B . pumila (B. Boivin 1967b), that name must be rejected for this species. 

 Further complicating matters, E. Lepage (1976) concluded that the type of Betula minor represents a hybrid between individuals of the dwarf species and B . papyrifera , and on that basis, following nomenclatural rules, he renamed the dwarf species B . saxophila , retaining the name B . minor for the hybrid. Leaf shapes and other visible characters of the type fall easily within the limits of variation of B . saxophila , however, and the group is considered here to consist of a single entity, designated by the older name B . minor .

At least in the Adirondacks, Betula minor usually occurs near populations of B . cordifolia and B . glandulosa , and it has frequently been suggested (e.g., E. Hultén 1968; E. Lepage 1976; J. J. Furlow 1990) that it may have originated through hybridization between these species (perhaps followed by polyploidy). The northern populations may similarly consist of a hybrid swarm involving B . papyrifera or B . cordifolia and B . glandulosa . Critical examination of the entire complex, including experimental studies of the patterns of hybridization present, are necessary to unravel its problems satisfactorily.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: In Quebec, Betula minor sensu lato is a confusing species that has been treated as different species and hybrids. It has been treated as B. saxophila Lepage, B. borealis Spach in part, B. occidentalis Hook. sensu Boivin (1966) and Scoggin (1978-1979), Betula x minor sensu Lepage (B. saxophila x B. papyrifera), Betula x ungavensis Lepage (B. glandulosa x B. papyrifera) and Betula x minor sensu Cronquist (B. papyrifera var. cordifolia x B. glandulosa). Ernest Lepage, a Canadian botanist now deceased, revised the shrubby species of birch in Canada and regarded B. minor as either B. saxophila or Betula x minor. He did not look at specimens from New York or New England. He was considered a splitter and his hybrids were contested by botanists in Quebec City and Ottawa. There is even disagreement within his own treatment (see Lavoie & Morisset 1987). In Quebec City and Newfoundland, Canadian botanists have found that Betula minor s.l. does not always occur with supposed parent species. It is seen alone and reproduces on its own. Boivin (1966) considers it possible that B. occidentalis in the west and B. minor in the east may all be the same species. Therefore it would be difficult to say exactly which taxon the U.S. specimens represent. Kartesz (1999) accepts Betula minor as a species from eastern Canada and adjacent U.S. states.

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