BBY003 :: Betula papyrifera var. commutata

Paper birch, western white birch. As we will see in next week’s post and still more to come, the first day’s expedition to track the species at Burnaby Lake was a bit naïve and ambitious. I correctly distinguished that entries 003 and 004 were different trees while out in the field; however, after reviewing my photos the next day, for a long while I could see no difference. Clueless about how to identify plants (and I’m still novice), I didn’t have clear pictures showing leaf or flower structures. Returning to the location multiple times, I gradually became familiar with at least two trees around here! This is a birch, and next week (004) will be an Alder.

B. papyrifera (left) compared to Alnus rubra (right)

The base model (B. papyrifera / var papyrifera) grows widely elsewhere in Canada.

Specimen recorded July 24, 2020, 18:00 at the all-weather field trailhead. About 20 – 30’ (6 – 9 m) tall.

Art by Nelson Spies, October 26, 2020. Pencil on medium surface paper.

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