Paper Birch

Scientific Name

Betula papyrifera

Wildlife Value


Average height




Shade Tolerance


Drought Tolerance


Growth Rate




Special Characteristics

bark peels in thin papery strips

Seedling Size

12" to 18"


General Description

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 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. 



Betula papyrifera has a soft, yet moderately heavy, white wood. It makes excellent high-yielding firewood if seasoned properly. Its bark is an excellent fire starter, burning at high temperatures even when wet. While paper birch does not have a very high overall economic value, it is used in furniture, flooring, and Oriented Strand Board. The sap is boiled down to produce birch syrup. Its name reflects the use of the tree's bark, primarily by Native Americans, for a writing material.[citation needed] The bark is also used to create a durable waterproof layer in the construction of sod-roofed houses 

Paper Birch (bundle of 25)

    110 2nd Street South Suite 128, Waite Park, MN 56387 | Ph: 320-251-7800 x3 | Fax: 855-205-6907

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