bark peels in thin papery strips
12" to 18"
The bark is a bright white, 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. Under favorable conditions paper birch can live over a hundred years. The mature fruit is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts that can spread to new locations with the help of wind. They start to drop in mid-August.
Birch leaf miner, bronze birch borers, and birch skeletonizer
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.