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Betula papyrifera - Paper Birch / Canoe Birch - 100 Seeds

Betula papyrifera - Paper Birch / Canoe Birch - 100 Seeds


Betula papyrifera, the Paper or Canoe birch is a beautiful slender and graceful deciduous tree with with one of the whitest of barks that separates along horizontal slits and peels into thin papery layers, exposing an underbark which is pale orangeish brown.  The bark has a chalky covering that rubs off easily, and this is one way to distinguish this tree from other birches with white bark.  


The Paper Birch usually grows from 15 to 20m in height but can get as tall as 30m.  It has a conical form and a rather sparse, open crown, more so in age. The leaves are ovate to heart-shaped, toothed, 5 to 7 cm long, and dark green, turning yellow to orange in the Autumn. 

Male and female catkins are formed in the Autumn and are present through the Winter, the staminate (pollen-producing or male) flowers are in hanging catkins, 7 to 10cm long, and the pistillate (female) flowers are in semi-erect cone-like clusters about 2.5cm long.  The trees bear both kinds of flowers and these appear before the leaves in early Spring.

Paper Birch is native to North America and 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. 

It grows very fast in its youth, but remains a tree of moderate proportions and rarely lives more than 100 - 150 years.  

The papery bark was much used by native Americans to make canoes and roofing for their wigwams, as the bark is light, tough, durable and impervious to water.

With its slender form, peeling papery bark and Autumn colour change it can make an attractive Bonsai subject.

Paper Birch does best in full sun to partial or dappled shade and will take a range of soils, including wet boggy soil.  Like other Birches, the Paper Birch has a shallow root system and should be watered during dry spells.  It is an ultimately cold hardy tree that almost never grows naturally where average summer temperatures exceed 21ºC.

Seeds that have been stored for any length of time will 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.

100 premium quality seeds shipped on receipt of cleared funds. 

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