Paper Birch

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 Betula subsp. var.  Paper Birch, American White Birch, Bolean Birch, Canoe Birch, Silver Birch, Spoolwood
Paper Birch
Habit: tree
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Betulaceae > Betula var. , Marsh.

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Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), also known as American White Birch, Bolean Birch, Canoe Birch, Silver Birch and, Spoolwood is a species of birch native to northern North America, from Newfoundland west to Alaska, south to Pennsylvania and Washington, with small isolated populations further south in mountains to North Carolina and Colorado.

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 m tall (exceptionally to 35 m) with a trunk up to 80 cm diameter. The bark is white, commonly brightly so, flaking in fine horizontal strips, and often with small black marks and scars. In individuals younger than five years the bark appears brown with white lenticels, making the tree much harder to distinguish from other trees. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 5-12 cm long and 4-9 cm broad, with a doubly serrate margin. The leaf buds are conical and small, they are green colored with brown edges. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3-8 cm long growing from the tips of twigs, the fruit matures in the fall. The mature fruit is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts. They drop between September and spring.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Betula papyrifera, Marsh. (B. papyracea, Ait. B. grandis, Schrad.). Paper or Canoe Birch. Figs. 550, 551. Tree, 60-80, exceptionally 120, ft.: branchlets slightly glandular, hairy when young: Lvs. ovate, narrowed to cordate at the base, acuminate, coarsely and usually doubly serrate, pubescent on the veins beneath or nearly glabrous, 1½-4½ in. long: strobiles ……ed, 1-2 in. long; scales with short and broad divergent lateral lobes. Northern states from the Atlantic to Pacific coast.—Ornamental tree, with very white trunk and a loose, graceful head when older. Bark known for its use in making Indian canoes. Var. cordifolia, Regel (B. pyrifolia and B. platyphylla, Hort.). Lvs. broadly ovate, usually cordate. Var. minor, Tuckm. Low, bushy tree with smaller Lvs. and frs. Mts. of New England and N. Y.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

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