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TREES & plants

RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch

Bark of RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch.

The Renaissance Reflection® birch is a tall, fast-growing tree with striking bark that displays dark green foliage throughout the season, transitioning to a golden color in the fall. This tree is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB) but does not do well when exposed to drought or polluted conditions.

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

Botanical name: 
Betula papyrifera 'Renci'
All Common Names: 
RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch
Family (English): 
Birch
Family (Botanic): 
Betulaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
50-70 feet
Mature Width: 
20-25 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 2, 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Intolerant of pollution
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter, 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Late winter, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Pyramidal, 
  • Vase-shaped
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

This tree performs better in more northern climates.  This cultivar is more heat resistant than the species.
Avoid pruning birches in spring as they are bleeders (will lose quantities of sap).

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf miners and cankers are possible.
Chlorosis (yellowing) may occur in high pH soils.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to bronze birch borer.

Native geographic location and habitat

A cultivated variety of a native species.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is very white, but does not peel much.  Long, black lenticels  and V-shaped black marks at branch connections are prominent on this species as it ages.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves; 2 to 4 inches long.
Dark green, oval-shaped, leaves have double serrated margins.
Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous;  male flowers in cylindrical catkins; females also in a cylindrical structure, but much smaller.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Cylindrical clusters of winged nutlets.

Betula papyrifera 'Renci' or RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch