The Birch of Etna (Betula Aetnensis)

In Sicily the birch at a spontaneous state is only present in the Etna area, mainly in the mountain plain-Mediterranean (from 1.450 to 2.100 m. A.s.l.) where is presented with pure populations or mixed, up to the upper limit of the tree line. It is one of the most peculiar and representative endemism of the Etna area and is known as Betula Aetnensis or simply Birch of Etna.

The systematic position of this species is presently unclear and subject to discussion, the geological events suggest that the southern Italy and Sicily area, have represented for the Birch a refuge during the last glaciation and later, in the post ice Age, have allowed the re-expansion of its distribution area.

Not finding the most suitable climatic conditions, in Sicily, the Birch remained confined only on Etna.

Written by: Date: 19/03/2015