White Birch, Paper Birch
Betula papyrifera
Family Corylaceae

* Leaves oval, with rounded base, pointed tip, and toothed margin.
* Bark on branches and young trees is brown to bronze.
* Bark on mature trees white, peeling into long, narrow, paper-like strips.
* Height: To 80'.

Natural History:
* Habitat: Young forests, areas destroyed by fire. Often grows with conifers.
* Range: Throughout Canada, southeastern United States to the Midwest.
* Native.

* Birch bark was used by Indians in canoes, wigwam covers, boxes, shoes, and even snow goggles. Birch lumber is used as pulp and fuel.

* A tip for fire-starters: White birch bark burns easily and quickly, and is an excellent first layer of kindling. Don't peel the bark, though; once birch trunks are stripped of their bark, they begin to die. The bark will never grow back.

* Ruffed and sharptail grouse feed on the seeds and buds, while moose, snowshoe hare, and deer eat the twigs.

* Birches are sun-loving, fast growing trees that sprout after disturbance due to fire or fallen canopy trees. Their life span is short; few live longer than 100 years. Because their seeds do not live long in the soil, birch trees produce many seeds that disperse with the wind and establish new plants in recently disturbed areas.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008