|Murray birch, Murrays birch, Murrays birch|
|Barnes & Dancik|
|Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons|
The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Holden Arboretum
The conservation of Betula murrayana is fully sponsored.
Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons contributed to this Plant Profile.
This species is an unusual natural hybrid of an already naturally hybridized species, purpus birch, Betula x purpusii, crossed with another native species, yellow birch, Betula allegheniensis. It can be described as a small tree or a tall shrub, ranging from 4-15m tall. The tree is 5-20cm in diameter at breast height. The prominent lenticels are horizontally elongated in the bark. The flowers appear in April and May before the leaves and the fruit ripens in autumn.
Many characteristics distinguish this species from its relatives. The first visible feature is the non-exfoliating, shiny, smooth, dark reddish bark, which peels similar to the yellow birch. The leaves are larger and broader than those of its parents, but are shaped similar to the purpus birch. The pollen is less visible, but different in that the grains are, on average, larger than either parent and are highly viable, similar only to yellow birch. Invisible to the naked eye, one of the biggest differences is that the Murray birch has many more chromosomes than either parent.
Distribution & Occurrence
This species is found in northern temperate deciduous swamp forests. (Barnes and Danick 1985)
|Originally two trees were found, but in the early 1980s one died unexpectedly. Only one known original individual remains in the University of Michigan's demonstration forest. Several cuttings from this original have produced plants at the University of Michigans Matthaei Botanical Gardens and at The Holden Arboretum. (Barnes 1989)
The tree at The Holden Arboretum, has recently been diagnosed with bronze birch borer. No course of action has been decided yet. (Butte pers. com.)
Conservation, Ecology & Research
1998. Hawaii's Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge: A rainforest degraded by grazing, logging and burning is being returned to its native state, with help from numerous volunteers -- and NRDC members. Natural Resources Defense Council.
Barnes, B.V. 1989. Newly discovered birch ranks among rarest of rare. The Center for Plant Conservation. 4, 2: 1-8.