paper birch © Identification

  • Older bark white and papery,younger bark smooth
  • Triangular leaves with toothed margins


  • Sunny, moist areas

Harvesting Time

  • Spring to fall

Uses and Related Information

  • Sap can boiled to reduce it to a syrup, which has half the sugar of maple syrup and is more savoury (tastes similar to soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce)


  • Inner bark can be added to soups and stews or dried and powdered to use as a flour
  • Catkins and leaves can be added raw to salads or cooked in vegetable side dishes
  • Tea can be made from the twigs and leaves


Harvest the inner bark only from recently downed branches or small branches clipped from the main tree to minimize the impact on overall tree health and growth
birch sap credit: Todd Van Hoosear CC BY-SA 2.0birch catkin credit: ZeNeeceC CC BY-NC-SA 2.0