Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Fagales > Betulaceae > Betula > Betula papyrifera

Betula papyrifera (mountain paper birch; Kenai birch; paper birch)


Wikipedia Abstract

Betula kenaica, or Kenai birch, is a species of birch that can be found in Alaska and northwestern North America at 300 m (980 ft) above sea level.
View Wikipedia Record: Betula papyrifera


Air Quality Improvement [1]  Low
Allergen Potential [1]  Medium-High
Carbon Capture [1]  Medium-High
Screening - Summer [2]  Moderate
Screening - Winter [2]  Porous
Shade Percentage [1]  82 %
Temperature Reduction [1]  High
Wind Reduction [1]  Medium
Bloom Period [2]  Mid Spring
Drought Tolerance [2]  Low
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  High
Flower Type [3]  Monoecious
Frost Free Days [2]  80 days
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  High
Fruit/Seed Begin [2]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [2]  Summer
Growth Form [2]  Single Stem
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [2]  Rapid
Janka Hardness [4]  910 lbf (413 kgf) Soft
Leaf Type [3]  Deciduous
Lifespan [2]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Wind
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Cutting, Seed
Root Depth [2]  24 inches (61 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Rapid
Seed Vigor [2]  Medium
Seeds Per [2]  1380797 / lb (3044139 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Erect
Specific Gravity [5]  0.55
Structure [3]  Tree
Usage [3]  The thin outer bark is used to make drinking vessels, canoe skins, roofing tiles, buckets etc; This material was very widely used by various native North American Indian tribes, it is waterproof, durable, tough and resinous; Only the thin outer bark is removed, this does not kill the tree; It is most easily removed in late spring to early summer; The outer bark has also been used as emergency sun-glasses in order to prevent snow-blindness; A strip of bark 4 - 5cm wide is placed over the eyes, the natural openings (lenticels) in the bark serving as apertures for the eyes; A brown to red dye can be made from the inner bark; A pioneer species, it rapidly invades deforested areas (such as after a forest fire or logging) and creates suitable conditions for other woodland trees to follow. Because it cannot grow or reproduce very successfully in the shade it is eventually out-competed by the other woodland trees; The tree has an extensive root system and can be planted to control banks from erosion; The bark is a good tinder; An infusion of the leaves is used as a hair shampoo, it is effective against dandruff; The thin outer bark can be used as a paper substitute. It is carefully peeled off the tree and used as it is; A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and another from the heartwood, these are used in making paper; The heartwood fibre is 0.8 - 2.7mm long, that from the bark is probably longer; The branches of the tree can be harvested in spring or summer, the leaves and outer bark are removed, the branches are steamed and the fibres stripped off; Wood - strong, hard, light, very close grained, elastic, not durable. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot and is used for turnery, veneer, pulp etc; It is also used as a fuel; It splits easily and gives off considerable heat even when green, but tends to quickly coat chimneys with a layer of tar;
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  None
Flower Color [2]  Yellow
Foliage Color [2]  Green
Fruit Color [2]  Brown
Fall Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Flower Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Height [3]  66 feet (20 m)
Width [3]  16.4 feet (5 m)
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 3 Low Temperature: -40 F° (-40 C°) → -30 F° (-34.4 C°)
Hardiness Zone Maximum [1]  USDA Zone: 6 Low Temperature: -10 F° (-23.3 C°) → 0 F° (-17.8 C°)
Light Preference [2]  Full Sun
Soil Acidity [2]  Moderate Acid
Soil Fertility [2]  Intermediate
Water Use [1]  High
View Plants For A Future Record : Betula papyrifera

Protected Areas


Emblem of

New Hampshire



Parasitized by 
Agrilus anxius (Bronze birch borer)[10]

Range Map


Attributes / relations provided by
1i-Tree Species v. 4.0, developed by the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station and SUNY-ESF using the Horticopia, Inc. plant database.
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
4Wood Janka Hardness Scale/Chart J W Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts
5Forest Inventory and Analysis DB version 5.1, May 4, 2013, U.S. Forest Service
6Making The Forest And Tundra Wildlife Connection
7HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
8Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
9Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
10Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
11Ochotona collaris, Stephen O. MacDonald and Clyde Jones, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 281, pp. 1-4 (1987)
13Alaska Wildlife Notebook Series, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Species taxanomy provided by GBIF Secretariat (2022). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset accessed via on 2023-06-13; License: CC BY 4.0