Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

White Birch
Betula papyrifera

White Birch (Betula papyrifera) Other common names: Canoe Birch, Paper Birch

French names: Bouleau papier

Family: Birch Family (Betulaceae)

Group: Birches

Distinctive features: Tree

Similar species:
  •   European White Birch (Betula pendula) - Branches are "weeping" (hanging down.

  •   Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) - A small tree; only in extreme eastern Ontario.


Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed

Bark: Papery, white and peeling laterally.

Habitat: Forests

Books: Trees in Canada: 284   

Native/Non-native: Native

Photographs: 384 photographs available, of which 19 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch is best known for its peeling white bark.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

A fragment of White Birch bark.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch trunk.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

The bark of younger trees can be a little bit yellowish. It can be distinguished from Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis) by the larger peeling sheets.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

A nice set of three White Birch trunks.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Closeup of the bark.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch flowers, in mid-May.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Flower buds in early April.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch leaf buds.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Typical White Birch leaf.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

A few small White Birch trees in winter.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Shape and form of a young White Birch tree.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

The white bark of White Birch does not rot very quickly. You will often find just the bark remaining on a rotted fallen tree trunk.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Sapsucker holes in White Birch bark.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch sap flowing out of a wound and freezing in the winter cold.

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

White Birch often displays these markings, leading to confusion with Gray Birch (Betula populifolia).

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Tinder Fungus grows on White Birch.

For information about the uses of Tinder Fungus, please visit the Wildwood Survival website.


Range map for White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)