Betula papyrifera Marshall  - Paper Birch


 

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Betula papyrifera - (image 1 of 5)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Betulaceae

Habitat

Varied. Common tree of northern regions

Associates

Mixed conifers-hardwood forest species. Seeds in readily after fire.

Distribution

Labrador west to AK, south to NC, WV, northern IN, and northeast IA.

Morphology

Small to medium-sized tree, occasionally to 30 m, crown pyramidal to rounded with age. Leaves ovate to oval with a doubly serrate margin, acute to acuminate, rounded to obtuse at the base, glabrous above and minutely glandular below; petiole slender with black glands.  Twigs slender, red-brown to orange-brown, with lenticels; buds ovoid, acute. Bark brown when young, soon becoming white and papery; bark of old trees black and fissured. Staminate aments in pairs at the end of twigs. Fruit a cylindrical ament, to 4.5 cm long, pendent.

Notes

Flowers mid April to mid May

Wetland Indicator: Facultative Upland

Our characteristic white birch. Very popular for it's white, exfoliating bark. Also called canoe birch. The bark was used by Native Americans to construct canoes. State tree of NH.

References

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY

 

Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

 

USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA

 


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Michael Hough 2004