Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia



adapted from Woody Plants of the Blue Ridge by Ron Lance. Used by permission.

To see photographic examples of a term, click the camera next to it in the list of botanical terms.


The texture and appearance of bark is characteristic for many species, but the essence of its recognition is best acquired by visual experience and not by written description.

Three general types of bark texture can be summarized for most of our woody plants:
smooth, papery, and rough.

Smooth bark:

Surface relatively unbroken, usually thin (ex. beech, ailanthus).

Papery bark:

Basically smooth but with peeling or shreddy outer layers, sometimes a thick accumulation. Also referred to as "peeling" or "shreddy" bark (ex. paper birch and river birch).

Rough bark:

Thick or hardened, roughened surface.