Deciduous tree, 10-30 m tall; bark white, yellowish- to reddish-brown or dark grey, often peeling; twigs hairy with both short and long hairs.
Alternate, deciduous, broadly egg-shaped in outline, the tips sharp-pointed, hairy below, rarely glandular, 4-10 cm long, leaf stalks more than 1 cm long.
Male and female flowers in separate catkins 2-4 cm long; flowers emerging before or with the leaves; catkins breaking up at maturity.
Nutlets with broad wings, at least twice as wide as the body of the nutlets; bracts with rounded, ascending or diverging lateral lobes.
Numerous apparent hybrids between B. papyrifera and B. neoalaskana or B. occidentalis (e.g., B. x utahensis Britt. and B. subcordata Rydb.) have been formally named (see Brayshaw 1996b, Scoggan 1979). Two varieties occur in BC.
1. Mature bark white; fruiting bracts with ascending lateral lobes............... var. papyrifera
1. Mature bark white, yellowish- to reddish-brown or dark grey; fruiting bracts with lateral lobes diverging at right angles................... var. commutata (Regel) Fern.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia