Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Betula papyrifera
canoe birch, paper birch, western paper birch, white birch

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Yukon Territory to northeastern Oregon, east across the northern U.S. and Canada to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Moist, open to dense woods at low to middle elevations.

Flowers: March-May

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


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.

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

OregonFlora: Betula papyrifera information

E-Flora BC: Betula papyrifera atlas page

CalPhotos: Betula papyrifera photos

64 photographs:
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