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Birch is the name of any tree of the genus Betula, in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. These are generally small to medium-size trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate climates. The simple leaves may be toothed or lobed. The fruit is a small samara, although the wings may be obscure in some species. 

In times past, commercial oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) was made from the sweet birch, Betula lenta. 

Birches of eastern North America include: 

Betula allegheniensis -- yellow birch 
Betula glandulosa -- dwarf birch 
Betula lenta -- sweet birch (or black birch) 
Betula michauxii -- Newfoundland dwarf birch 
Betula nigra -- river birch 
Betula papyrifera -- white birch (or paperbark birch) 
Betula populifolia -- gray birch 
Betula pumila -- swamp birch 
Betula pendula -- Silver birch, is native to Europe and parts of Asia. 

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