Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) is a pioneer species that invades open areas after disturbances such as farming, fire or logging. As the forest grows denser and the canopy closes, the open area is eventually replaced over time by a more shade-tolerant species such as oaks and maples.
Gray Birch is very similar to paper birch and can be differentiated by its leaves and bark. The leaves of the Gray Birch are narrow and triangular in shape with larger serrations than paper birch.
The trunks of Gray Birch are so flexible that when weighted with snow, the upper branches may bend all the way to the ground without breaking.