Tree of the Month: Paper/White Birch

Scientific Name: Betula papyrifera

The Paper or White Birch is easily recognizable by its flaky, peeling, paper like white bark and ovate shaped, pale green leaves. The Paper Birch has been used historically by First Nations people to make canoes, buckets, baskets, and even casts for broken bones. Modern day uses of this tree range from furniture, to sod roof coverings, and even popsicle sticks.

Small to medium sized, it can grow as a single or multi stemmed tree and able to live up to 150 years of age. Claimed to be one of the most attractive native trees to Ontario, it is often used as an ornamental tree. Used by both people and animals for years, this tree provides a staple for a large variety of species that will consume its leaves, fruit and even sap. Considered a pioneer species, the Paper Birch will be one of the first species to move into an area that has been recently altered by an event such as fire. In order to grow sufficiently, the Paper Birch requires lots of sunlight and loamy or sandy soils with a reliable water source.

Want to plant one?
The Paper Birch is a highly desired ornamental tree because of its striking appearance, easy maintenance, and attraction to wildlife. Great in areas with lots of sunlight exposure.