Frozen Sap of a Yellow Birch Tree

June 12, 2020

Photographer: Josh Brenneman
Summary Authors: Josh Brenneman; Jim Foster

The photo above shows frozen sap from a yellow birch tree (Betula alleghaniensis) as observed on Spruce Knob, West Virginia, on April 19, 2020. Sap will find its way to the outer surface of a tree’s bark in early spring even if the temperatures are more winter-like. Anyone traveling through West Virginia in the fall knows that the Mountain State is blessed with sugar maples. But maples aren’t the only sap producers. Sap from the yellow birch can also be tapped, and while it’s not as sweet as that of the sugar maple, a given tree will produce more sap than will a maple. The thin bark of the yellow birch makes it easy for birds such as the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker to drill through with their beaks to get to the tasty sap. Note that sugar maples evidently have an allelopathic effect on yellow birch seedling that acts to suppress their growth.

Photo Details: Camera: Samsung SM-G975U; Exposure Time: 0.0018s (1/561); Aperture: ƒ/2.4; ISO equivalent: 50; Focal Length (35mm): 26.