Photographer & Copyright

© Patrick Leary

Photo Source

CC BY 4.0

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 3 plant ID/comparison guides:

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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collage of Gray Birch and European White Birch

Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) vs. European White Birch (Betula pendula)

Updated July 25th, 2020

These two species are often confused where their ranges overlap, as both have white bark that does not peel excessively, and both have doubly-serrate triangular leaves. Gray birch is common in the wild and occasionally used in landscaping; European white birch is common in landscaping and occasionally escapes into the wild. These species can usually be easily distinguished by differences in bark, catkins, leaf shape, and growth habit. However, both species can hybridize with other, similar-looking birches, complicating ID.

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The other guide is not yet completed and published.