Ed Golson Outdoor Education

paper birch tree

Scientific Name: Betula papyrifera

Description: With its bright white papery bark, the paper birch is very easy to identify. In addition to its white bark, the tree also has many small brown dots or branch scars scattered all over its trunk. These trees are deciduous and have small dangling flower clusters called catkins. These flowers turn into cone-shaped fruits that release small nuts in the winter. 

These trees prefer to live in moist, sandy soils, but they can live in a variety of habitats . Their leaves are oval shaped with jagged edges and are about 2 to 4 inches long. The trees grow quickly and often reach a height of 50 to 70 feet, but they have a fairly short lifespan. They are weaker than many other trees and have been known to break in an ice storm. This tree is found throughout most of Michigan and ranges from the Northern U.S. up through Canada and Alaska.

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