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Alaska Paper Birch

Betula neoalaskana • Alaska white birch, Alaska birch


The Alaska birch is a small tree often with many stems typically growing up to 15 meters tall. It has a very extensive range from northwestern Ontario to western Alaska. In British Columbia, it is confined to the northeastern portion of the province and the northern border area with the Yukon Territory. Alaska paper birch characteristically occurs on bogs and poorly drained soils; in pure stands or mixed with other species, especially black spruce. Very easily confused with white birch however Alaska white birch twigs are covered in bumpy resin glands.


Triangular to broadly oval, 4-7 cm long; tip long-tapered, sharp-pointed; base broadly wedge-shaped, with a smooth margin; teeth often gland-tipped; upper surface shiny dark green; light yellowish-green with tiny resin dots beneath, almost hairless; veins 4 or 5 per side, each ending in a tooth, with 3-5 smaller intervening teeth.


Pollen catkins 2.5-4 cm long at pollination; seed catkins 1-2 cm.


Thin, smooth, dark reddish-brown when young, becoming creamy white or slightly pinkish with age; peels off in papery layers (but not as freely as white birch).

186 Trees

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