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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonBetula occidentalis
Family common name(s)birch; alder
Genus common name(s)birch; birchtree; birch tree
Species common name(s)western water birch; western river birch; western red birch; western black birch; interior western birch; spring birch; Rocky Mountain birch
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxariver birch, water birch, western birch, western paper birch, black birch are applied to multiple Betula taxa; mountain birch is applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesRocky Mountain is a proper name, so upper case preferable; Rockymountain, rockymountain are errors
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcBetula papyrifera Marshall subsp. occidentalis (Hook.) Hultén; Betula fontinalis Sarg.
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