Western Paper Birch

Paper Birch Betula papyrifera is a species of birch native to northern North America. It is the provincial tree of Saskatchewan and the state tree of New Hampshire. Paper Birch is a small, short lived variety of the birches. There is a scattering of these trees in our local forests, often found in wet or swampy areas or near meadows. Most trees are too small and crooked to make good sawlogs, and nearly all of the birch harvested in the Inland Northwest is used as firewood. Its smoke has a light, pleasant smell that works well for barbequing. Beautiful lumber can be made out of the logs that are large enough to saw, and we sell a few thousand board feet each year. As the only hardwood that grows in the area, it has a fan club here who uses it for flooring, cabinets, and other visual applications. Paper Birch is substantially softer than its European cousin Silver Birch (910 on the Janka scale versus 1210) but is sufficiently hard to wear well for flooring, and it variegated brown and white makes for a striking aesthetic.