Betula Papyrifera - Paper Birch / Canoe Birch
Native to North America, this deciduous tree can reach up to 20-30m tall, with a brown-red trunk that turns white and flaky, around 75cm in diameter. Leaves are ovate with a pointed tip, up to 10cm long, dark green in colour but turning yellow in autumn, with serrated margins. Flowers appear from mid-spring to early summer as catkins: female flowers are green, around 4cm long, while male flowers are up to 10cm long and brown.
The bark of the tree is easily distinguishable in older trees, bright white and flakes in horizontal strips. Historically the bark has been used as a paper substitute, or to use in canoe-making, and is a winter staple food of moose in its native habitat. The tree sap can also be boiled to produce birch syrup, with a rich and strong flavour that pairs well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
Fully hardy down to -20°C.