paper birch

paper birch
a North American birch, Betula papyrifera, having a tough bark and yielding a valuable wood: the state tree of New Hampshire. Also called canoe birch.
[1800-10, Amer.]

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Ornamental, shade, and timber tree (Betula papyrifera) of the birch family, native to northern and central North America.

Also called canoe birch, silver birch, or white birch, it is one of the best-known birches. The smooth, varicolored or white bark of young trees peels horizontally in thin sheets, which once were used as writing surfaces as well as for roofing, canoes, and shoes. The water-impervious bark, which burns even when wet, is a boon to campers and hikers.

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also called  canoe birch,  silver birch , or  white birch 
 ornamental, shade, and timber tree of the family Betulaceae, native to northern and central North America.

 Usually about 18 metres (60 feet) tall but occasionally reaching 40 m, the tree has ovate, dark-green, sharp-pointed leaves about 10 centimetres long. The bark, brown at first, whitens and peels into paper-thin layers, marked by narrow horizontal pores, or lenticels. On the copper-coloured inner bark, the pores are bright orange. Short, pendulous branches and their numerous flexible twigs create a lacy silhouette in winter.

      The western paper birch (B. papyrifera variety commutata) of Canada and the western U.S. is about 30 m tall, with orange-brown to nearly white bark; the smaller northwestern paper birch of western North America (variety subcordata) is 18 m high and has orange-brown to silver-gray bark, purplish, red-brown twigs, and small, heart-shaped leaves, about six centimetres long; the mountain paper birch (variety cordifolia), with white bark, is a small, sometimes shrubby tree of Canada and the eastern and midwestern U.S. In the Alaska paper birch (variety humilis) the nearly triangular leaves are about four centimetres long, the bark white to red brown; the Kenai birch (variety kenaica), found in Alaska from sea level to altitudes of 665 m, is rarely 12 m tall and has white bark, tinged orange or brown.

      Paper birch is fast growing but short-lived and susceptible to borers when cultivated south of its natural range. The close-grained, almost white wood is used for turned articles, woodenware, pulp, and fuel. North American Indians used the thin, water-impervious bark for roofing and canoes.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Paper birch — Paper Pa per (p[=a] p[ e]r), n. [F. papier, fr. L. papyrus papyrus, from which the Egyptians made a kind of paper, Gr. pa pyros. Cf. {Papyrus}.] 1. A substance in the form of thin sheets or leaves intended to be written or printed on, or to be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • paper birch — ☆ paper birch n. the North American birch (Betula papyrifera), having white or ash colored, paperlike bark …   English World dictionary

  • paper birch — popieržievis beržas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Beržinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, medieninis, vaistinis augalas (Betula papyrifera), paplitęs Šiaurės Amerikoje. atitikmenys: lot. Betula papyrifera angl. canoe birch; paper birch; paper bark …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • paper birch — noun small American birch with peeling white bark often worked into e.g. baskets or toy canoes • Syn: ↑American white birch, ↑paperbark birch, ↑canoe birch, ↑Betula cordifolia, ↑Betula papyrifera • Hypernyms: ↑birch, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • paper-birch — paˈper birchˈ noun An American birch with papery bark • • • Main Entry: ↑paper …   Useful english dictionary

  • paper birch — pa′per birch n. pln a North American birch, Betula papyrifera, having a tough bark and yielding a valuable wood • Etymology: 1800–10, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • paper birch — /ˈpeɪpə bɜtʃ/ (say paypuh berch) noun the North American birch, Betula papyrifera, a tall tree with tough bark and valuable wood. Also, white birch …  

  • paper birch — noun Date: 1810 a North American birch (Betula papyrifera) with peeling white bark and toothed ovate leaves …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Western paper birch — noun birch of western United States resembling the paper birch but having brownish bark • Syn: ↑swamp birch, ↑water birch, ↑mountain birch, ↑Western birch, ↑Betula fontinalis • Hypernyms: ↑birch, ↑birch tree …   Useful english dictionary

  • Indian paper birch — himalajinis beržas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Beržinių šeimos medieninis, vaistinis augalas (Betula utilis), paplitęs rytų ir pietų Azijoje. atitikmenys: lot. Betula utilis angl. Himalayan birch; Himalayan silver birch; Indian paper… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

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