White Birch (Paper Birch) Bark Tree Detail, Allegheny Plateau, Pennsylvania

This photograph of the trunk of a mature white birch was made in the Marion Brooks Natural Area on the Allegheny Plateau in northern Pennsylvania. The bright overcast light allowed for much detail to be noticeable, such as its lenticels, the long horizontal lines that help the tree to breathe.

White (paper) birch, Betula papyrifera, is a northern hardwood tree that grows naturally from Labrador to Alaska. Its angelic white bark is thin and easily damaged, but beautiful, almost ethereal. This species is adapted to establish itself quickly on sites following major disturbances such as fire. It grows quickly and is relatively short lived for a tree, usually no more than about 80 years.

Photo location: Elk County, Pennsylvania.

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