Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paper Bark Trees

When I was very young I remember our family traveling to New Hampshire to visit my Dad’s brother and his family. We stayed in a little tourist cabin in a woods that had only bunk beds and a table and straight chairs and a kerosene lantern. There was a small attached open deck with rocking chairs. My mother walked with me and my brother into the woods one day when Dad was taking a nap and she showed us “special trees.” She called them paper bark trees. We peeled some of the bark that was hanging loose and brought it back to the cabin. That evening, under the gaslight, we wrote letters on the bark and Mother mailed them to Grandma in New Jersey. We also made little bark canoes to float in the stream nearby. I now also remember that the mosquitoes there had a huge feast on Geraldine’s delicious blood and almost drained her dry, leaving huge insanely itching welts!

Today I took these photos of two clusters of these trees that are growing at a back entrance to this campground. I spotted them as we entered last evening after my birthday dinner. Whoa! I thought I had covered this whole place with my camera but I sure missed this! I was excited! I had forgotten all about the time we learned about the “special trees.”
please click on image to view larger

I spotted this bug in the bark and took a shot too.

Betula papyrifera is a species of birch native to northern North America. It is the provincial tree of Saskatchewan and the state tree of New Hampshire.

Young trees feature reddish-brown bark with horizontal lenticels. Latter the bark becomes chalky and creamy white, peeling off in horizontal strips. 

The bronze birch borer is a serious pest of white, paper, and cut-leaf weeping birches. Bronze birch borer is the principal insect pest. Larvae tunnel under the bark girdling the tree leading to premature death.


  1. What an amazing tree! Those are great shots.

  2. Thank you for bringing a piece of this bark down to my campsite so I could feel it. It was incredible that a piece of bark could feel like this.

  3. I've not heard of this tree...but it sure is VERY interesting!!! Glad you found them to pique your memory and share the fine points of childhood and youth.

  4. Beautiful shots on a bright sunny day. I remember those.
    Living in the same region I am familiar with those trees. I remember learning about them in school and how the native people in the area would use the bark to write on.