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collage of Gray Birch and Paper Birch

Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) vs. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Updated December 15th, 2021

Gray and paper birch are easily confused where their ranges overlap in the northeast. Both have white bark and they can grow together in early-successional habitats. However, they can be easily distinguished by leaf shape or bark, and they also have differences in typical growth habit and maximum size. Gray birch ranges farther south, whereas paper birch ranges farther north and west. Paper birch can grow much taller and usually grows straighter.

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