Paper Birch – ID Sheet

Common Name: Paper Birch

Scientific Name: Betula papyrifera

Other Names: Canoe Birch. White Birch


  • Thin white bark that peals in paper like layers
  • Leaves are oval to triangular in shape. 2-4 inches long
    • Leaves have double serrated edges
    • Alternate Arrangement
  • Flowers in April-June
  • 60 to 100 feet tall


  • Paper Birches are know as pioneer species meaning that it is one of the first trees to grow in places where other trees have been removed/disturbed
  • Can be found in mixed hardwood and conifer forests, or have been known to grow in pure stands.
  • Can grow in a variety of soils. However, it grows best in well drained and dry soils
  • Does not grow well in harsh conditions or heat


  • Paper Birch makes excellent fire wood if dried properly.
  • Often used in specialty products such as ice cream sticks, toothpicks, and broom handles
  • Can be tapped in the spring to make Birch syrup
  • Bark is also used to make canoes and containers

Observation Notes:

  • December 2020- Northern Vermont- It seems very easy to notice and identify Paper Birch in the winter. The white bark stands out against the residual green of the conifers and the brown of the other deciduous tress


Paper Birch. Photo Credit Arbor Day Foundation


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