Birch

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC
Paper/White Birch

Birch (20-70 ft) has triangular green leaves with serrated edges that turn yellow and then fall in autumn. The bark on mature trees is white and peels in paper-like strips. Male and female catkins form in the spring.

Birch is common in the temperate and boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States.

Paper/White Birch is native to North America, while Silver Birch grows in Europe. Paper Birch thrives in moist soil at low to middle altitudes. It is one of the first trees to appear in burned areas. Bog (Swamp) Birch, a shrub (3-13 ft tall), and Water Birch (25-40 ft tall) grow around bogs and wet areas over many parts of North America. Unlike Paper Birch, the Water Birch’s brown bark doesn’t peel.

Did you know? Birch bark can be used as paper or to make baskets and canoes.