Description: Although the white birch is well recognized across Canada, it is an uncommon eastern slope species. Very susceptible to Chinook damage, it looks for refuge in narrow canyons like Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park. It is more common at low elevations on the western slopes where Chinook damage doesn't occur. Its bark instantly identifies the white birch. Usually loose and peeling, it feels like paper. Aspen, which is often mistaken for birch, doesn't have loose bark. The leaves are approximately 5 cm long, and sharply toothed along the margin. The birch played a critical role in the building of Canada by providing the raw materials for the birch bark canoe, the standard means of transportation for the eastern fur traders.
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White Birch/Paper Birch