Paper Birch, American White Birch, Canoe Birch

Betula papyrifera

Family: Betulaceae (beh-tyoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Betula (BET-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: papyrifera (pap-ih-RIFF-er-uh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (yellow-green)


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Sacramento, California

Aurora, Illinois

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Michigan City, Indiana

Dubuque, Iowa

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Crosslake, Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota

Grand Portage, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lincoln, Nebraska

Batavia, New York

Belfield, North Dakota

North Ridgeville, Ohio

Salem, Oregon

Milford, Pennsylvania

Reading, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Newport News, Virginia

Mukilteo, Washington

De Pere, Wisconsin

Hayward, Wisconsin

Mc Farland, Wisconsin

Neenah, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 3, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

My favorite tree that I admired so much in the northwoods of Minnesota and Wisconsin, where it thrives and lives about 100 years old. It grows wild in the hills of northwest Illinois near Galena, and in central and northern PA. If planted in the Chicago area or around Philadelphia, PA, it usually lives about 30 years before killed by Bronze Birch Borer Beetle because it gets stressed and weakened by hot summers, especially if dry also. However, I have seen some really big specimens growing in partly shaded and cooler locations in both places that had to be over 50 years old. Grows in acid or alkaline soils. Water during summer drought. Fast growing, about 1.5 to 2 ft/yr in landscapes.


On Mar 24, 2012, floramakros from Sacramento Valley, CA wrote:

I know it's native to America, but plant 3 of these in a row in front of a picture window, watch them sway in the breeze on a cold winter's day while listening to the song Somewhere My Love, and the sheer beauty of the scene will make you experience a little slice of Heaven deep in the Russian forest. Some trees give you auras of romance everytime you see them, this tree is one of them.


On Sep 6, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Pros: Rapid growth, strong wood, attractive white exfoliating bark and yellow autumn leaf colour, adaptable to a wide range of soils, source of food and shelter for wildlife.

Cons: Short-lived, not drought, heat or shade tolerant, susceptible to attack from the bronze birch borer and birch leaf miner.

The paper birch is the official state tree of New Hampshire and provincial tree of Saskatchewan.


On Dec 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree is found across Canada and the most northern parts of the U.S. (specifically Oregon). The trunk has thin, white bark and dark horizontal markings. Foliage is serrated and light to medium green in summer. Fruits are cylindrical shaped and about the width of a pencil and 1 1/2" in length.


On Sep 14, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Gets the name Paper Birch, from the paper like bark that on mature trees separates in papery strips and can be peeled off in sheets.