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BETULA papyrifera

Image of Betula papyrifera

Jesse Saylor

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA papyrifera

Plant Common Name

Paper Birch

General Description

Paper birch is a medium to large, deciduous tree that is native of the extreme northern United States, Alaska and much of Canada. It is most valued for its beautiful white papery bark that is accented with bands of black. In fall its medium green leaves turn a pretty yellow, and in winter its stark white bark contrasts nicely with evergreens.

This very hardy tree does best in cold climates and excels in moist, but well drained sandy loam soils. Paper birch does not tolerate difficult sites, excessive summer heat or pollution and is susceptible to birch borer.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50'-70' / 15.2m - 21.3m

  • Width

    25'-35' / 7.6m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, North-Central United States, Alaska, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow, Gold

  • Bark Color

    White, Bronze, Black

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No