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Paper birch

Closeup of papery white birch tree trunk

Paper birch

Paper birch TreeNA image and description

About the birch tree

Paper birch (white birch, canoe birch) - Betula papyrifera

Identification: Birches are easily identified by their white, curling, papery bark. In spring, birches produce long, caterpillar-like flowers called catkins that are pollinated by the wind. Birch leaves are oval and come to a tip, turning yellow in autumn. The leaves have toothed edges and grow in an alternating pattern on the stem. 

Height: 50-70 feet 

Preferences: Full sun or partial shade. Hardiness zones 2-7.

Wildlife value: Paper birch is a good food source for wildlife. Many small mammals and birds like ruffed grouse feed on catkins in spring. Birch is an important food source for moose in the winter; they browse on leaves, soft shoots and branches. Snowshoe hares eat seedlings and saplings, and inner bark is a favorite of porcupines.

Uses: Birch wood is used for flooring, furniture and popsicle sticks.

Birch bark is traditionally used by indigenous communities to make baskets, canoes, baby carriers and other types of containers.