Betula papyrifera

White Birch (Paper Birch)                        


1605 Millersville Pike, Lancaster PA


Helen Kirchner, Jack Brubaker


This White Birch is growing out of the trunk of a tree that died 50 years before the birch sprouted in 2000 (Jack Brubaker, LNP, January 22, 2016). The tree's growth pattern has been affected by PPL which topped the birch to protect overhead power lines.  

"The birch's roots are wrapped all around inside the trunk of the dead tree," Brubaker noted.  "The roots of the birch are pushing at the bark of its host (and) in places have popped through."  The birch is apparently not rooted in the ground and is expected to die when the old tree topples.


Brownstown photographer Lori Stahl has photographed the duo every season of every year since 2002.  [The first photo here is by Blaine Shahan in January 2016; the others are by LAE in November 2018.]


This amazing species has such a high oil content in its waterproof bark that often the wood of a downed tree will rot away but leave the hollow bark intact.