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Betula papyrifera

Pronunciation: Bet-u-la pap-i-rif-er-a
Family: Betulaceae (birch family
Common Name: Paper birch, white birch
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 50-100'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -50 to -40ºF ZONE 2
  • -30 to -40ºF ZONE 3
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early spring
Bloom Description: Paper birch (betula papyrifera) produce male flowers or catkins that are 3-4 in (7. 6-10. 2 cm) long, or female flowers that are in semi-erect conelike clusters about an inch long. The trees bear both kinds of flowers and appear before the leaves in early spring.
Soil Type: Like other birches, paper birch (betula papyrifera) has a shallow root system and should be watered during dry spells. It is highly susceptible to the bronze birch borer when not watered enough.
Plant Perks:
  • Fall Foliage
Propagation: Propagate paper birch (betula papyrifera) from fresh seeds, which are produced in prodigious numbers. Seeds that have been stored may require cold, moist stratification before they will germinate. The tiny seedlings are particularly fragile and must be coddled for their first few years. Paper birches can also be propagated from cuttings.
Native to: Paper birch has one of the widest ranges of any north american tree. It grows from coast to coast, from pacific alaska across all of canada to atlantic newfoundland, as far north as trees grow. Southward, paper birch is common in new england, new york and the great lakes states, and grows in all the states in the northern tier. Outlier populations of paper birch occur in the high mountains of west virginia, north carolina and colorado. Paper birch often grows in pure stands in rocky uplands and along streams. In the southern parts of its range it is confined to high slopes, generally on the cooler north or east sides.
Winter Sowing Zones: Zones 3-8
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - paper birch (betula papyrifera) is usually cultivated for its highly ornamental bark which is especially attractive in winter, framed by its delicate lacy twigs. A small group of paper birches looks great in front of dark green evergreen conifers. American indians used the tough, light weight bark of paper birch to cover their wigwams and birch bark canoes, as well as to make baskets, water-tight containers and dishes. They also made a tea from the leaves, a sweet syrup from the sap, and used decoctions of the inner bark for various medicinal purposes. Botanists recognize several varieties of paper birch (betula papyrifera), and a few naturally occurring hybrids with other birches have been identified. Horticulturists have selected a few cultivars, including 'chickadee' which is described as especially narrow, and 'snowy' which is supposed to be resistant to the bronze birch borer paper birch is one of the first trees to establish following forest fire. After a devastating fire, paper birch germinates by the millions and forms dense, monospecific stands. Beavers eat the inner bark, moose and deer browse the twigs, ruffed grouse eat the leaf buds, and birds and mice eat the seeds pin it
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 1 to 7 days ZONE 2
  • 7 to 14 days ZONE 3
  • 30 to 45 days ZONE 5
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Seed Photos
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