The Paper Birch is a striking tree hailing from the Northerly latitudes. It’s white bark that peels seasonally resembles a snake shedding it’s skin. Birch trees usually grow in dense groves and can eventually reach up to 80 feet in height. In spring, the birch is covered with male and female catkins which are attractive and fragrant. They give way to a set of lush green leaves beautifully contrasted with the white bark. In the Fall, the leaves turn a bright yellow/gold, and as the leaves drop the bare birch tree in winter has a beauty all it’s own. Historically, the birch leaves and twigs were used as a potent anti-inflammatory by native people and European settlers. The leaves and twigs also act as a bitter and as a skin wash for skin eruptions. Extracted in vinegar, the mineral rich anti-inflammatory properties are readily available and a tea can also be brewed for pain relief from the leaves and peeled twigs. The Paper Birch is a great tree for the yard or herbscape and can eventually be pruned to induce sucker growth, which can then be harvested for medicine making. Hardy. To Zone 2.