The birch is a thin-leaved, deciduous deciduous tree of the genus Betula in the family Betulaceae, which also includes alders and hornbeams. It is closely related to the beech-oak family (Fagaceae). The birch is mainly found in the northern areas of the temperate climate zones and in the boreal climate zones. The simple leaves are single or double serrated and feathery veined. The bark of all birches is characteristic with its thin, papery layers. The inner bark of the birch is suitable as food. It can be dried and ground into flour, as the Native Americans and early settlers did. It can also be cut into strips and cooked like pasta.