Image 15 of 28
Paper-bark Birch (Canoe-bark Birch) Betula papyrifera (Betulaceae) HEIGHT to 23m. A stout, spreading tree. Best recognized by studying its leaves. BARK Mostly white and smooth, flecked with grey or sometimes orange or brown; it peels horizontally into strips. BRANCHES Spreading, the shoots covered in rough warts and a few long hairs. LEAVES Large by birch standards (to 10cm long), dull green and with only 5 pairs of veins; they are borne on hairy stalks. REPRODUCTIVE PARTS Catkins, females of which eventually produces winged seeds. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION A native of northern N America from the east to the west coast. It is planted here as an ornamental tree, mainly for the novelty of its bark. COMMENTS The freely peeling bark was once used by Native Americans to make canoes.