Betula papyrifera
canoe birch, paper birch, western paper birch, white birch

Distribution: Alaska to Oregon, east of the Cascades except in northwest Washington, east to the Atlantic coast

Habitat: Moist, open to dense woods, low to moderate elevations

Flowers: March - May

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Monoecious, deciduous small tree 15-20 m. tall, the young twigs puberulent and covered with flattened glands that are more or less peltate and not at all resinous; older wood from cherry to chalky-white and peeling.


Leaves alternate, the blades narrowly ovate to nearly rotund, 4-7 cm. long, once- or twice-serrate, occasionally shallowly lobed, often glabrous on the greener upper surface, pubescent beneath, with tufts of stiff hairs in the axils of the larger lateral veins.


Staminate catkins elongate and pendulous, 1-4 per cluster; pistillate catkins erect, 3-5 cm. long, borne singly, the naked flowers subtended with a 3-lobed bract 5-7 mm. long, with marginal hairs.


Samara, the wings as broad as the nutlet.

Accepted Name:
Betula papyrifera Marshall
Publication: Arbust. Amer. 19. 1785. 1785.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Betula alba L. var. commutata Regel
Betula montanensis
Betula papyrifera Marshall var. commutata (Regel) Fernald [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Betula papyrifera in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Betula papyrifera checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Betula papyrifera atlas page.

CalPhotos: Betula papyrifera photos.

USDA Plants: Betula papyrifera information.

64 photographs:
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