Monday, February 1, 2010

Birches

Betula

A tree that is hard not to like. The Birch is the National Tree of Russia and is common to cold and temperate climate regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
While usually used for landscaping and colonizing bare land, other uses for Birch include Birch Oil ( an analgesic to relieve muscle pain ) and Birch Tea which is used as an antiseptic wash for burns and wounds ( likely not as effective as Manuka Honey or Garlic ). While having reputation for being short lived this is often due to the wrong selection. Planting the wrong tree in the wrong place will make ANY tree short lived. That being said; some Birches do have more problems with insect pests while others have none. No Birch is more prone to insect pests than the one that turns out to be the one most often planted - the Silver Birch ( Betula pendula ). It is native to the coldest regions of Europe and northern Asia ( unlike the River Birch that is native and adapted to hot humid southeast U.S. ). If you plant the Silver Birch in warm climates that do not get colder than -20 F in winter - you WILL get Bronze Borer Infestation. The Bronze Birch Borer is the #1 killer of Birches! It is an insect that kills either entire tree or limb by tunneling inside the trunk and cutting off the flow of sap. The only way to save Birches from Borers is to prevent it in the first place either by a) planting resistant species anywhere south of zone 4 b) early spring applications of systemic pesticide such as Bayer which can be expensive but of course a large shade tree is an expensive investment worth protecting.
Again there are Birches that DO NOT get Borers. If you don't want to spend money on chemicals - USE THEM!
Otherwise; many Birches can withstand extreme cold and wind. Most Birches grow well in sun or part shade on moist, well drained fertile soil. Birches do tolerate poorer soils and do often have nitrogen fixing bacteria in their roots with an acre of pure stand Birch fixing up to 200 pounds of nitrogen in a year.
Birches are best pruned in fall or late spring after the sap has risen. Young trees are best trained to a single leader and the branches feathered so that the tree develops with a good sturdy habit.
Birches hybridize easily so if you want to clone a tree it is better to reproduce it from softwood cuttings taken in summer and grown using mist propagation.
It grown from seed, it is recommended to sow the seed upon ripening during late summer or stratifying for 2 months at 40 F.
Birches are resistant to damage from deer, lightning and salt. They like cool soil and young Birches grow much faster with their roots covered by a good shredded hardwood mulch rather than sun baked bare soil or water stealing turf.







* photo taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, Ontario


Betula aetnensis ( Mount Etna Birch )
A fast growing, narrow, deciduous tree, reaching a maximum height of 40 feet, that is native to Sicily where it is endangered. It is closely related and similar in appearance to Betula pendula. Some records include: largest size - unknown...dry mediterranean summers may limit it's size within its native range.
The double-toothed, triangular leaves are similar to that of Betula pendula. The glossy mid-green foliage turns to golden-yellow during autumn.
The white bark is randomly spotted black.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 in full sun on fertile, well drained soil. It is likely much more heat and drought tolerant than Betula pendula and should be tested in North America.

* excellent link
http://digilander.libero.it/casadifabio/betulla-delletna-betula-aetnensis-raf.html

* photo unknown internet source


Betula albosinensis ( Chinese Red Birch )
A large fast growing Birch native to mountain woods of northwestern China. It can reach up to 55 x 40 feet in 20 years and eventually scale 80 feet. The largest trees on record reach up to 100 x 50 feet with trunk diameters up to 5.2 feet. The record growth rate on this vigorous Birch is 4 feet. Conical when young; this Birch becomes open and rounded canopied as it ages.
The oval, taper pointed leaves reach up to 7 x 4 inches in size ( usually around 4 inches ). The foliage is glossy dark green above, paler below and turns yellow in autumn. In early spring the foliage is a bright verdant green.
The bark is gray-cream on young trees later turning to orange-red and peeling in thin, horizontal papery strips.
This Birch tolerates wet soils and clay. It is rare in North America but is reported to thrive in many places including Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Hardy from zone 3 to 8 preferring a cold or cool climate. It is best propagated from softwood cuttings in summer since seed raised trees are variable.

'Hergest'
Beautiful, warm, pinkish-cream bark; is also faster growing; reaching up to 13 x 10 feet in 5 years. Eventually forms a handsome domed tree.

'Septentrionalis'
orange-brown bark and paler dull green leaves.

Betula alleghaniensis ( Yellow Birch )
Native to cooler temperate regions of North America ( from southeast Manitoba to the north shore of Lake Superior to Cochrane, Ontario to Chicoutimi, Quebec to Newfoundland, south to central Iowa to northern Indiana to central Ohio to New Jersey and the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region it is only known to occur sporadically from Amherstburg to Leamington but not Point Pelee during the 1800s. It is not much prone to the Bronze Birch Borer. A moderate to fast growing, large tree; it is known to reach as much as 60 x 33 feet in 20 years and eventually over 80 feet. The largest trees on record reach as much as 150 x 90 feet with trunk diameters up to a truly massive 7 feet! This Birch can be very long lived up to 610 years or even 1500 years for stunted trees on rock outcrops! It has reached 60 x 80 feet at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada. The Yellow Birch is important as a lumber tree and is also used commercially for the extraction of methyl salicylate ( Wintergreen ).
The oval, coarsely toothed leaves are usually about 5 inches in length and sometimes as much as 7 x 4 inches on vigorous trees. They are dull green ( light green beneath ) in the summer and turn to gold in the fall.
The female flower catkins are erect and the male ones are pendulous to 4 inches in length.
The bark is dull yellow and peels horizontally.
The wood weighs around 43 pounds per square foot.
The Yellow Birch is hardy from zones 2 to 7 and thrives in cold winter climates. It even grows well in Saskatchewan ( where winters aren't much milder than Siberia ).
Unlike some members of the Birch family; this one is very tolerant of shade and is also not affected by the Bronze Birch Borer. However it does not like waterlogged clay and when grown in unsuitable sites it can be prone to cankers. Somewhat heat tolerant; this Birch does range south into parts of the U.S. Midwest and trees grown from that seed source can tolerate temperatures above 100F on occasion. Wild seedlings need shade to germinate and do not germinate if forest leaf litter is present. In the nursery; seedlings have been reported growing 2 feet tall in 3 months in greenhouses with 20 hours of light per day.
Ever since seeing a massive 100 foot full canopied Yellow Birch towering over an archery range in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada; this tree has always been one of my favorites. The Ontario Big Tree Database mentions the largest Yellow Birches in Ontario, Canada being at Lorimer Lake ( 6 foot diameter! ) and the 2nd largest being in Algonquin Park. In the U.S. an extremely large ancient Yellow Birch with trunk approx. 6.7 feet in diameter is known to grow at Deer Isle, Maine.

* photos taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on Nov 27 2015 @ Hickory Run State Park, PA

* photo taken by P. Freeman Heim @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken by W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


Betula alnoides ( Alderleaf Birch )
Native to the Himalayas from China to northeast India. This rather slender tree of a Birch can grow very tall reaching over 80 feet with the largest recorded being 133 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 4 feet. Betula alnoides can grow rapidly. Some records include: 9 years - 53 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 inches; 30 years - 123 feet with a trunk diameter of 13 inches.
The pointed double serrate leaves are large to 6 x 3 inches and are borne on red stalks.
The catkins are clustered and up to 3 inches in length.
The younger twigs are downy purplish-red and the the bark on older trees is red-brown peeling horizontally in strips.
Hardy zones 5 to 8.
subsp 'Cylindrostachya'
Fast growing with attractive dark brown shiny bark. Long showy catkins up to 4 inches in length in early spring

Betula x caerulea ( Blue Birch )
A natural hybrid between Betula populifolia & B. papyrifera subsp. cordifolia. The Blue Birch is found in the wild in northeastern North America, especially in the the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec and the Maritimes. It has also been reported in Labrador. Blue Birch is most commonly associated with Red Spruce in the wild. It can grow to 80 feet in height and the largest on record is 120 x 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet.
The toothed oval leaves are up to 6 x 3 ( rarely over 4 ) inches in size. The foliage is dull blue-green above, yellowish-green beneath.
The bark is whitish but not as much as Betula papyrifera.
Hardy zones 2 to 8.

Betula celtiiberica ( Portugal Birch )
Native to Portugal and nearby parts of Spain; this is usually a small tree though it is known to reach as much as 70 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 5.5 feet.
The thick, toothed leaves, up to 3 x 2 inches in size, are glossy, blue-green leaves.
The pendulous catkins hang in small clusters.
The bark is silvery white and smooth becoming deeply furrowed and dark on very old trunks.
Hardy from zone 7 to 10 tolerating as cold as -4 F

Betula chinensis
A beautiful lawn tree native to northern China and Korea. It is moderately fast growing reaching up to 12 feet in 5 years and the tallest on record is 66 feet. It is usually a single trunk tree.
The small, toothed, pointed-ovate leaves are up to 2.5 x 2 inches in size. The foliage turns golden-yellow during autumn.
The catkins are short and rounded.
The bark is pinkish-white.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 ( likely 3 for Liaoning seed source ).

* historic archive photo


Betula corylifolia ( Hazel Birch )
A medium-sized, deciduous tree, that is native to high mountains of Honshu Island in central Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 70 feet in height with a trunk diameter up to 1.7 feet.
The double-toothed, ovate or elliptical leaves are up to 3 inches in length. The foliage is deep blue-green above, grayish-white beneath.
The flower catkins are up to 2 inches in length.
The smooth bark is grayish-white. The twigs are reddish-purple.
Hardy zones 5 to 8, possibly 4b as it is reported as hardy at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada.

Betula costata ( Chinese White Birch )
A fast growing, pyramidal tree, that is similar to Betula ermanii and also has white bark. It is native to northeastern Asia ( from eastern Russia; south to northeastern China and Korea ). Some records include: largest on record - 100 x 40 feet; fastest growth rate - 5 feet.
The ovate leaves are up to 3 x 1.8 inches in size. The mid-green foliage turns to golden-yellow during autumn.
The creamy-white to grayish-brown peeling bark resembles that of Betula nigra ( River Birch ).
Hardy zones 2b to 6 in moist, fertile, deep, well drained soil; it is generally pest free.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


Betula davurica ( Asian Black Birch )
Also called Dahurian Birch. A fast growing, large tree reaching around 70 feet, that is native to northeastrn Asia ( from far eastern Russia; south to eastern Mongolia, eastern China, Korea and Japan ). Some records include: 135 x 60 feet with trunk diameter of 3.3 feet; 6 years - 15 feet; fastest growth rate - 5 ( rarely over 3 ) feet. It is similar in appearance to the North American River Birch ( Betula nigra ). This beautiful tree should be much more widely used in the landscape.
The toothed, oval leaves, up to 4.7 x 3.5 inches in size, are deep green above, slightly hairy below. The Asian Black Birch is the first Birch to leaf out during the spring however it can loose its leaves earlier than average in the fall. The foliage turns glowing golden-yellow during autumn.
The bark is red-brown with gray markings and deeply curled fissures. The wood is valuable for home construction.
Hardy zones 2b to 7, it is heat tolerant but does not enjoy drought. It is also highly resistant to insects including borers and disease.

* photo taken Mar 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken by Dr. Nick V. Kurzenko @ CalPhotos

* historic archive photo


'Stone Farm'
showier white exfoliating bark.

Betula ermanii ( Erman Birch / Russian Rock Birch )
A fast growing, long-lived, moderately-dense, large tree, native to northeastern Asia ( from eastern Siberia from Lake Baikal to the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Pacific Coast; south to northeastern China, northern Korea and Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 100 x 80 feet with trunk diameter up to 4.2 feet; 28 years - trunk diameter of 28 inches; 20 years - 60 x 30 feet; 5 years - 13 x 10 feet; fastest growth rate - 4 feet.
The coarsely-toothed, pointed-oval leaves are up to 6 x 4 ( rarely over 4 ) inches in size. The foliage is glossy deep green; turning to intense golden-yellow during autumn.
The flower catkins are produced during early spring. The female ones are short and green and the male ones are yellow and up to 4 inches in length.
The bark is creamy-white with horizontal lenticels and peeling in strips. The wood is valuable for home construction.
Hardy zones 2 to 8. This Birch grows well on very wet sites and also moist well drained soils. It is not tolerant of drought. It leafs out early and may be damaged by late freezes in some regions.

* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario



* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id126283/?taxonid=125439

'Pendula'
Weeping branches.

'Polar Bear'
Vigorous and strong growing. The trunk turns pure white at a very young age.

Betula forresti ( Delavay Birch )
Also called Betula delavayi. A pyramidal small tree growing up to 3 feet per year in its youth though rarely reaching up to 50 feet in height with a maximum trunk diameter of 1 foot. It is native to southwestern China.
The elliptic leaves, up to 3 x 1.5 inches, are deep green.
The bark is smooth and brown, becoming pure white to dark gray with extreme age.

Betula fruticosa ( Altai Birch )
A large, deciduous shrub, reaching up to 10 feet, that is native to eastern Siberia; south to much of northern Mongolia, northwest China and Korea. There are reports of it growing as much as 25 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot. It is often found on riverbanks in the wild.
The ovate leaves, up to 1.8 x 1.5 inches in size, are deep green.
The flowers catkins are borne during early summer.
The bark is grayish-white. The branches are deep purplish-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 5.

* historic archive photo


Betula glandulosa ( Bog Birch )
Native to southern Greenland, northern Canada ( from northern Alaska to northern Yukon to southern Baffin Island to Labrador & Newfoundland; south to central Alberta to central Saskatchewan to Lansdowne House, Ontario to the southern tip of James Bay to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia ) and the Rocky Mountains this Birch is usually a medium shrub rarely becoming a very small tree up to 18 feet with a trunk up to 4 inches in diameter. Bog Birch has also been found very locally in mountainous parts of Maine and New York State. It often spreads by rhizomes forming dense thickets. The thick, leathery, rounded leaves are small, reaching only up to 1.2 x 1 inch in size. The foliage is luxuriant mid-green.
The bark is brown and smooth.
This is one of the most cold hardy landscape plants that exist thriving zones 1 to 6 ( tolerating -60 F or colder ). It is tolerant of wet conditions and is often found in bogs in the wild.

* historical archive photo


Betula globispica ( Honshu Birch )
A medium-sized deciduous tree, reaching a maximum height of 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot. It is a rare native to the mountains of central Honshu Island of Japan. This relic species is not closely related to any other birch and is endangered with extinction.
The coarsely-toothed, broadly-ovate leaves are up to 2.7 inches in length. The foliage is glossy deep green above, pale green beneath.
The papery peeling bark is grayish-white.
Hardy zone 6 in full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil. It is clay tolerant but requires cool moist summers and thus does not tolerate drought. It is easily propagated from seed however seedlings are variable in growth rate. More seedlings than necessary should be propagated in order to preserve and grow the most vigorous.

Betula grossa ( Japanese Cherry Birch )
A large, deciduous tree that is native to Japan; This Birch reaches an average of 33 feet in 20 years though it can eventually exceed 60 feet. The largest on record is 100 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. Growth rates up to 3 feet per year have been recorded.
The thickly-veined, ooarsely-toothed, pointed, oblong leaves are up to 6 x 3 inches in size. The foliage is dull deep green, turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The tree smells like wintergreen and the dark red-brown bark is smooth with horizontal bands in younger trees becoming grooved in older trees.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

* photos taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.





* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Betula humilis
A large shrub to small tree typically around 10 x 8 feet that is native from central Europe to eastern Siberia, northern Mongolia and Korea. Not well known in cultivation and critically endangered in the wild in Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania, It is extinct in the Czech Republic and also rare in Belarus and the Ukraine. It is found in pine moors and bogs in the wild. The largest on record is 37 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 10 inches.
The deeply-toothed, ovate to rounded leaves are up to 1.4 inches long. The foliage is glossy bright green, turning to blue-green.
The bark is dark brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 6.

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id58136/?taxonid=3439

Betula kirghisorum
Native to the Kazakhstan Region north of the Aral Sea in central Asia. It is a strongly erect small tree with a maximum size of 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 20 inches, with dull whitish bark.
The leaves have prominent brown veins. While there is little information on this highly endangered tree; based on photos I seen it is somewhat like the North American Gray Birch ( Betula populifolia ) in appearance.
The younger branches are reddish-brown.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 ( and likely hardier yet though this tree has not been fully tested ). To save this tree from extinction it should be introduced into horticulture.

Betula lenta ( Sweet Birch )
Native to eastern North America ( from northern Ohio to Niagara Region of Ontario to Ottawa region to central Maine; south to southern Ohio and Maryland & further south in the Appalachians to northern Alabama & Georgia ); this Birch grows large and can easily exceed 80 feet. It has become critically endangered in Canada where the only remaining stand is at Port Dalhousie near St. Catherines, Ontario. It is fast growing to as much as 30 feet in 10 years and 50 feet in 20 years. The largest on record is 120 x 50 feet with trunk diameters up to 6 feet recorded in the original old growth forests that once blanketed eastern North America. One specific old forest giant with a trunk diameter of 5.6 feet was recorded in Wabash County, Indiana in 1875. A reasonably large tree can be seen at Longwood Gardens near Philly, PA. This tree is used for timber and the fact that is it resistant to borers helps it reach great sizes and ages up to 360 years.
The papery, oval leaves are up to 6 x 5 inches in size. The foliage is yellowish-green above, bright green beneath; turning golden-yellow to orange during autumn. The fall color is later in the fall than many other Birches including being 2 weeks later than the Yellow Birch.
The foliage remains attractive all season.
While the female catkins are green, short and erect; the males ones are long, yellow and pendulous and reach up to 4 inches in length.
The bark is crimson on younger trunks with pale horizontal lenticels before turning to blackish-gray, furrowed and scaly.
The Sweet Birch prefers fertile, deep, acidic soil in sun or part shade.
Hardy zones 2 to 7, it thrives surprisingly well in southeastern Alaska despite being well outside its natural range. Though the Bark on this Birch isn't anywhere close to white; this Birch does not get Bronze Birch Borer and really does make an outstanding tree both in the wild and in the landscape. I therefore give it a 10/10!

* photo from unknown source on internet

* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* 1800s archive photo

* photo taken by W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos

* photos taken on Nov 27 2015 @ Hickory Run State Park, PA

* photos taken on Aug 13 2016 in Reisterstown, MD


Betula litwinowii ( Litwinow's Mountain Birch )
A rare tree native to the Caucasus mountains ranging from northern Turkey through the country of Georgia and into far southern Russia. It is found at altitudes around 6000 feet growing in fir and spruce forests.
Though the bark isn't anywhere near as white; this tree otherwise resembles Betula pendula Silver Birch. It is known to reach as much as 75 x 35 feet in size. Moderate growing; it can grow up to 2 feet per year and to 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 28 inches in only 27 years.
It's blue-green leaves reach up to 6 x 5 inches in size.
Hardy zones 3 to 6

* excellent photo link
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0710+1225

Betula luminifera
Related to Betula alnoides; this is a long lived, large Birch reaching as much as 100 feet in height. It is native to central and eastern China.
The oblong leaves are up to 5 x 3.5 inches in size. The attractive, glossy deep green foliage often remains on the trees until a sharp frost late in the fall.
The bark is smooth and dark brown; later turning gray tinged yellow. The branchlets are bright red-brown.
The catkins are up to 4 inches in length.
Hardy north to zone 4.

Betula mandschurica ( Manchurian Birch )
Also called Betula platyphylla var mandschurica. A fast growing, medium-sized, deciduous tree, reaching up to 80 feet, that is native to southeast Siberia, northeastern Mongolia and Manchuria. Some records include: largest on record - 90 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet.
The heavily-veined, sharply-toothed, triangular leaves are up to 3 x 2.5 inches in size. The mid-green foliage turns intense golden-yellow during autumn.
Both the male and female catkins are pendulous and up to an inch in length.
The bark is milky white.
Hardy zones 2 to 7. This is one of the best birches for the upper midwest.

Betula maximowicziana ( Monarch Birch )
A fast growing, large, deciduous tree, reaching over 80 feet, that is native to the Japan and the Kuril Islands. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 6 feet; 14 years - 35 feet; 20 years - 66 x 40 feet; largest on record - 120 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet.
The coarsely double-toothed, cordate leaves, up to 10 x 5.7 ( rarely over 6 ) inches in size, are the largest of any Birch. The foliage appears late in spring. The foliage is orangish to purplish at first, turning to mid-green above and yellow-green beneath. The heavily-veined foliage turns to gold in the fall. The foliage on the Monarch Birch appears like that of the Linden.
The pendulous female catkins are up to 3 inches in length and are in groups of up to 4 ( no other Birch has female catkins in clusters however this is a common occurance for male catkins of Birch ). The male catkins are yellow-brown and drooping to 5 inches in length.
The bark is reddish brown on younger trees and as the tree ages it becomes white with a pink tinge and peels in thin papery horizontal strips.
The Monarch Birch is NOT prone to Birch Borers and in many areas of the U.S. it should be much more widely planted. It should be planted on a moist site because it is urban tolerant but is not drought tolerant. Hardy zones 4 to 9. Rarely planted in North America; I have observed trees growing in both Washington, DC as well as Windsor, Ontario thriving where many birches certainly do not thrive due to borer damage and summer heat. These trees were very handsome in appearance. I do rate this tree a perfect 10/10 and hope to see it used on a much wider scale in temperate regions of North America. Needs acid soil.

* photo taken on March 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.




* photos taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* historic archive photo


* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id108615/?taxonid=196945

Betula medwedewii ( Transcaucasian Birch )
This native to the mountains of northwest Iran and ne Turkey is a very ornamental tree with a vigorous, erect habit. It is endangered in the wild.
Growing up to 33 feet in height in 20 years this Birch rarely gets much larger. The largest on record is 50 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 14 inches.
The heavily-toothed, elliptic leaves are up to 6 x 3 inches in size. The foliage is deep green above, light green below; turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
This Birch rarely cross pollinates with other Birches since it blooms later in the spring. The pendulous male catkins are up to 4 inches in length and the female ones are erect.
The whitish-brown bark is somewhat peeling.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 and tolerates as cold as -26 F.
'Gold Bark'
More tree-like with golden bark.

Betula michauxii ( Dwarf Newfoundland Birch )
A moderate growing, dense, low-spreading to upright, deciduous shrub, reaching up to 3.3 x 6 ( rarely over 2 ) feet, that is native to peat bogs in Newfoundland, far eastern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This dwarf makes a beautiful plant for the rock garden.
The deeply-toothed, small, ovovate to rounded leaves are up to 0.5 inches in length. The foliage is glossy deep green, turning to yellow during autumn.
The twigs are orangish-yellow.
Hardy zones 2 to 7 in full sun on moist, fertile, acidic soil. It is deer resistant.

Betula microphylla
Also called Betula fruticosa var cuneifolia. It forms an attractive, deciduous shrub or multi-trunked small tree, reaching a maximum height of 20 feet. It is native to riversides, deciduous brush or forests of mountains from Kazakhstan to the Altai region of Russia to most of western & northern Mongolia; south to Xinjiang Province of China. It is also reported from Krgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It has great potential for cultivation in the northern Rockies and Great Plains of North America.
The obovate to rounded leaves are up to 2 x 1.6 inches in size.
The flower catkins, up to 1 x 0.3 inches in size, appear during early summer.
The flaking bark is grayish-white. The stems are grayish-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 6.

* public domain photos found on internet


Betula nana ( Dwarf Birch )
A moderate growing, long-lived, rounded shrub native to subarctic regions in North America ( from far northern Alaska to southern Baffin Island; south to northern British Columbia to far northern Ontario to Labrador ), Greenland & Eurasia. Usually stunted in the wild; with ideal growing conditions it can reach up to 6 feet in height in 5 years. The largest ever recorded is 16.6 x 6 feet.
The thick, finely scallop-toothed, small, rounded leaves, reach only up to 0.7 x 0.8 inches in size. The glossy deep green foliage turns to gold and red over a long period during autumn.
The flower catkins, up to 0.5 inches in length, appear during late spring.
The smooth bark is dark brown.
Hardy zones 1 to 5 in full sun to partial shade; this Birch does not grow well in warm climates.

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id16958/?taxonid=3438

Var 'Exilis'
A spreading shrub, reaching up to 3.3 feet, that is native to western North America ( from Alaska to Northwest Territories; south to British Columbia to Saskatchewan ). It is also native to northern Asia; south to north-central Mongolia. It is found on tundra and mountain slopes in the wild.
The rounded leaves are up to 0.5 x 0.6 inches in size.
The flower catkins, up to 0.6 inches in length, appear during late spring.
The bark is reddish-brown.

Betula neoalaskana ( Yukon White Birch )
Closely related in appearance and botanically to Betula pendula and B. platyphylla; it is native to wet soils from Kotzbue, Alaska to far northern Yukon to Great Bear Lake, N.W.T. to northwestern Ontario; south to central B.C. to central Alberta to Winnipeg, Manitoba ( not found in mainland U.S. or southern parts of Canada ). An upright tree with a narrow crown; it is known to reach up to 53 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 15 inches in 27 years and 60 feet in 50 years. Some records include: largest on record - 82 x 42 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.1 feet.
The ovate leaves are up to 3.2 x 2.3 inches in size. The foliage is glossy dark green turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The bark is pinkish-white.
Hardy zones 1 to 4, thriving especially well in interior Alaska and the Yukon.

Betula nigra ( River Birch )
Native to river valleys of the eastern U.S. ( from southeast Minnesota to central Wisconsin to Ohio to southeast New Hampshire; south to eastern Texas to northern Florida ); this is a fast growing large spreading deciduous tree to 80 feet. Some records include: first year from seed - 18 inches; fastest growth rate - 8 feet and one inch in diameter; 4 years - 24 x 17 feet; 10 years - 40 feet; 20 years - 66 x 33 feet; 25 years - 2.6 feet trunk diameter; largest on record - 145 x 102 feet with a trunk diameter of 5.8 feet. It has reached 40 x 60 feet at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada. The River Birch is moderately long lived, lasting up to 125 years.
The leaves are usually around 3 or 4 inches but on vigorous growth are up to 6 x 3 inches and glossy deep blue-green above ( blue-gray below ).
The flower catkins appear in very early spring. The female catkins are short and green. The male catkins are yellow-brown and up to 4 inches.
The bark is peach-orange and smooth at first later becoming papery and with great age the lower bark then becomes dark, furrowed and plated.
The wood weighs around 40 pounds per square foot.
Though flood tolerant; the River Birch requires well drained soil. That being said; the River Birch can tolerate weeks of flooding. The River Birch is also wind and ice resistant. However it is prone to chlorosis on alkaline soils and does tend to shed inner leaves in dry summers. The River Birch is an excellent tree for reforestation on coal mine runoffs that are too acidic for other trees.
Heat and drought tolerant ( with leaf drop though ). Hardy from zone 3 to 9 ( tolerating -40 F )
Needs shade for the first year. Seeds fall in early summer and germinate immediately when flooding is unlikely just as with the American Elm.
Occasional strongly weeping forms of River Birch are found. A new improved form of River Birch has even whiter bark. Betula nigra River Birch is NOT prone to Birch Borer.

* Betula nigra @ Tyler Arboretum near Philly on Aug 2004

Photo taken @ Gambrills, MD

* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Stratford, Ontario

* photos taken @ Middle Patuxent, Clarksville, MD on Apr 24 2015

* photo taken on Oct 23 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* historical archive photos


'Dura Heat'
More heat tolerant with no leaf drop in summer. Leaves glossy dark green in summer turning gold in fall and often holding its fall color a full month longer than 'Heritage'.
The leathery foliage is very heat resistant as well as leaf miner resistant.
hardy from zone 3 to 9.

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on Apr 29 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 30 2016 in Annapolis, MD

* photo taken on Sep 2016 in Annapolis, MD

* photo taken on Oct 15 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 27 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 19 2016 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photo taken on Apr 2 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on May 16 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 17 2017 in Annapolis, MD


'Fox Valley' ( Little King River Birch )
A stocky small growing form hardy north to zone 4 ( possibly 3 ). It grows dense and shrubby to only 4 x 5 feet in 6 years; 12 x 21 feet in 10 years and eventually up to 30 x 26 feet.
The glossy deep green leaves are resistant to leaf spot.

* photo taken on March 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Stratford, Ontario

* photos taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Mar 18 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Heritage' ( Heritage River Birch )
Very heat resistant with larger, glossier, leaf spot resistant foliage.
The bark is light peach in color.
Tolerates as low as -45 F.

* photos taken in Columbia, MD

































'Summer Cascade'
Very fast growing and very weeping; to 12 x 12 feet in 10 years and eventually to 40 x 20 feet. It is known to grow to as much as 8 feet in a single year from a rooted cutting.

* photo taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Betula occidentalis ( Water Birch )
Native to the mountains of Western North America ( from northwest Alaska to northwest Northwest Territories to far southwest Nunavut to Warchesku Lake in northwestern Ontario to Attawapiskat, Ontario; south to the Washington Cascades to New Mexico to far northwest Minnesota to Fort Hope, Ontario ), in the wild it often forms thickets along stream banks. It is endangered in Nebraska. Though it can be trained to a single trunk; in the wild it is usually a multi-trunked open spreading crowned tree. Fast growing ( up to 4 feet growth rates recorded ); this Birch reaches around 30 feet and the largest ever recorded is about 72 x 55 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. Though it is especially well adapted for Western Canada ( and grows very well in Alberta ); this tree has also been planted in the East and is reported to reach 25 feet in Chicago. A 15 foot tree is also known from Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada.
The toothed leaves are small; only up to 2.5 x 2 inches. The foliage is deep green above and light green beneath; often turning intensely yellow or orange during autumn.
The zig-zag twigs are rough and brown.
The attractive bark is red-brown with white markings.
Hardy zones 2 to 6, highly recommended in harsh climates of the northern Rockies including Calgary, Alberta.

* photo taken by Jean Pawek @ CalPhotos

* photo taken by John D. Guthrie @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


'Moonbeam'
Glowing white bark.

'Rocky Mountain Splender'
A hybrid with Betula pendula. The mid green leaves turn yellow in fall. Fast growing to 60 feet tall & 55 feet wide. Borer resistant with very white bark. Hardy from zone 2 to 7

Betula pamirica ( Pamir Birch )
Threatened with extinction; it is native to Kyrgystan and Tajikistan, especially in the Pamir Mountains. Little is known about it however it is known to reach 26 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 inches in 23 years. Is never a large tree.
The double-toothed, ovate leaves are glossy mid-green.

* excellent photo link below
http://www.arboretumwespelaar.be/IdentificationKeysImageDetail.aspx?KeyID=12263

Betula papyrifera ( Paper Birch )
Native to Canada and the northeast U.S. ( from the northern Yukon to northwestern Northwest Territories to Great Slave Lake to far northeast Saskatchewan to far northern Ontario to most of Labrador as well as Newfoundland, south to Wash., Idaho to Sask. to Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania ); this tree is the epitome of the Canadian Shield Forests. It was abundant at Detroit, Michigan during the late 1800s but is not considered native to neighboring Windsor/Essex County, Ontario or the Lake Erie islands. It is elegant and fast growing to 80 feet and colonized land clearings. Usually reaching about 70 feet; on ideal sites it can grow very large with some being known to reach 161 feet tall; 90 feet in width with a trunk diameter of 6 feet. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 5 feet; 5 years - 17 feet; 7 years - 25 feet; 20 years - 53 feet. It can grow large even in harsh climates such as 60 x 40 feet in North Dakota. The Paper Birch can reach 16 inches in height in its first year of life and live up to 240 ( rarely over 120 ) years in cooler climates where it is not attacked by borers. The Paper Birch is as much a part of the Canadian landscape as is the Sugar Maple. Just as the tree is valued today for its timber; it was also valued by the natives who used the papery bark for the building of canoes. The glowing white of the Paper Birch is always a welcome sight on a dull cloudy day. I will never forget the beauty of a large grove of large Paper Birch over 80 feet in height in Algonquin National Park in central Ontario, Canada with the sweet warm summer breeze whispering through its high canopy. Record size Paper Birch are recorded growing in similar climate areas of northern Michigan in Black Lake, Point au Barques and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The ovate, toothed, pointed leaves are usually around 5 inches but may reach 7 x 4 inches on vigorous shoots. They are dark green above & light green and smooth below. The foliage turns a glowing golden yellow to sometimes orange in the fall. The early spring foliage is a glowing bright green. Also in early spring are the flower catkins. The female catkins are short and green; the male catkins are long and yellow up to 4 inches in length.
The bark is striking white and papery and was used by the Natives to build canoes. The bark peels off in large papery sheets and reveals orange-brown inner bark beneath. The wood weighs around 39 pounds per square foot.
The Paper Birch is very cold and somewhat drought tolerant.
The Paper Birch prefers cool climates and grows from zones 1 to 6.

* photo from unknown source on internet



* photo taken on August 2 2010 in Bayfield, Ontario


* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario


* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Stratford, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source


* photos taken by Jean Pawek @ CalPhotos

* photos taken on Aug 4 2013 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photos taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photos taken on July 26 2015 @ Niagara Parks Bot. Gardens, Niagara Falls, ON

* photos taken on July 14 2016 in Tobermory, ON

* photo taken on July 17 2016 in Bayfield, Ontario

* historical archive photos


var kenaica ( Kenai Birch )
Also called Betula kenaica. Smaller in size, it is native to northwestern North America in Alaska and the Yukon Territories. Some records include: largest on record - 80 x 43 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet.
The peeling, papery bark is grayish or dark brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 4, it is extremely hardy and thrives in interior Alaska.

'Renaissance Reflection'
Broad-pyramidal and very vigorous growing up to 5 feet per year and also borer resistant. It is also more heat tolerant than regular Paper Birch thriving in the extreme summer heat in sw Ohio.
The deep green foliage contrasts nicely with the bright white bark.
Hardy zones 3 to 6.

'Snowy'
Originating from Lansing, Michigan is very borer resistant and extremely vigorous up to 6 feet of growth per year.

'Varen' ( Prairie Dream Birch )
From Killdeer Mountain in western North Dakota; it has shown resistance to Birch Borer in 30 years of evaluation. Vigorous; to 50 x 40 feet in 30 years. Has exceptional snow white bark and quality dark green foliage turning gold in fall.

Betula pendula ( Silver Birch )
A valuable timber tree native to northern Europe ( central Europe in mountains ) that is commonly found forming pure stand forests on poor soils. Fast growing; it is usually a medium-size tree however in Europe it is known to grow to as much as 130 feet tall; 80 feet across with a trunk diameter up to 5 feet. The largest in the U.S. grows at Mackinaw Island, Michigan. Some additional records include: fastest growth rate - 6 feet; 5 years - 23 x 8 feet; 20 years - 60 feet. The Silver Birch can live up to 180 years in age.
Elegant branching habit with white bark. With age the trunk blackens towards the base. The double-toothed, triangular are leaves up to 5 ( rarely over 3 ) inches long. The foliage is glossy deep green; turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The flower catkins appear during early spring. The female ones are short, upright and green. The male ones are long, yellow and pendulous and up to 3 inches in length.
Hardy zones 1 to 6; the Silver Birch prefers cool climates with high humidity. This tree is attacked by Bronze Birch Borer anywhere temperatures don't go below -20 F in the winter limiting its use anywhere warmer than zone 4. Very well adapted for harsh climates in northern Canada including Alberta. Clones from the Ukraine are more heat and drought tolerant and thus better adapted for use in the U.S. Midwest where Silver Birch typically does NOT thrive.


* photo from unknown source on internet








* photo taken on August 3 2010 west of Stratford, Ontario


* historical archive photos

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id8929/?taxonid=3433

'Baroussa'
Grows to about the same size and with same vigor as species. It is evergreen in zone 9 lacking winter dormancy.

'Dalecarlica'
Dissected foliage; otherwise similar except somewhat more weeping in habit. It can grow the same size as Betula pendula and I have seen some very spectacular trees on sandy soils close to Lake Erie in Leamington, Ontario as well as east of Goderich, Ontario near Lake Huron. These trees are most likely being treated with a systemic insecticide to prevent damage from borers attesting to their great size and age.

* photo taken on August 2 2010 in Bayfield, Ontario


* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* historical archive photos


'Fastigiata'
An erect tree, rarely to 95 x 20 feet with trunk diameter of 3 feet. It holds its leaves later in the fall.

* historical archive photo


'Golden Cloud'
Forms a small tree, reaching a maximum size of 37 feet, with foliage that is deep yellow during spring before deepening to bright green.

'Royal Frost'
A hybrid with Betula platyphylla. The foliage is dark purple during summer and scarlet-red during spring and fall; contrasting with the white bark. An extremely beautiful tree that is shaped like Betula pendula and has potential to grow with vigor up to 50 x 40 feet in 15 years. Largest on record is 60 feet.
Hardy north to zone 3 and can grow well on heavy clay. It is moderately resistant to Bronze Birch Border.

* photos from unknown sources on internet

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Youngii'
A very weeping grafted tree to 15 feet. Some records include: 10 years - 12 feet; 100+ years - 38 x 27 feet with a trunk diameter up to 50 inches after 100 years or so.

* photo taken on July 25 in Glenburnie, MD

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

* historical archive photo

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


Betula platyphylla ( Japanese White Birch )
A fast growing, medium-sized, deciduous tree, native to northeastern Asia ( from eastern Siberia; south to eastern Mongolia to Manchuria, Korea as well as northern and central Japan ). Some record include: largest on record - 100 x 55 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet; 25 yea - - 63 feet with a trunk diameter of 15 inches; 15 years - 40 x 15 feet; 5 years - 17 feet; fastest rate - 6 ( rarely over 3 ) feet. The branches are not weeping unlike similar Betula pendula.
The toothed, oval leaves are up to 7 x 6 inches on vigorous shoots but usually about half that in size. The foliage is glossy mid-green above, whitish beneath, and appears very early in the spring.
The males flower catkins are up to 3 inches long and the female catkins are up to 1.3 inches.
The bark is similar to that of Betula pendula but does not fissure at the base.
Hardy zones 2 to 7; this Birch is great in the Great Plains and Midwest. It is heat, drought, lime and poor soil tolerant. The Japanese White Birch has been reported surviving temperatures as high as 120 F if the soil is moist.

* photos taken on April 5 2010 in Columbia, MD



* photos taken on August 5 2010 in Clinton, Ontario


* photos taken on November 7 2010 in Columbia, MD



* photos taken on Mar 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken by Dr. Nick V. Kurzenko @ CalPhotos


'Avalanche'
Like 'Whitespire' but up to 50 feet wide. Borer resistant.

'Dakota Pinnacle'
Columnar with white bark; can reach up to 30 x 8 feet in 10 years, eventually much taller. It is very borer resistant, sturdier than 'Whitespire' and has quality luxuriant foliage that remains until late fall.
Hardy north to zone 3a ( thrives in central Saskatchewan ) and is tolerant of storms, PH, drought, heat and heavy clay.

'Kamchatka'
Very bright white bark. Very fast growing; up to 5 feet in height in only its second year. Tolerates as cold as -50 F.

subsp. japonica -
Longer catkins.

* historic archive photo


'Prairie Vision'
Very borer resistant with white bark.
The foliage turns attractive gold in fall.
Hardy north to zone 3. It is fast growing, to 45 feet in 25 years, eventually up to a maximum height of 70 feet.

'Whitespire'
Narrow-conical habit with a long central leader, it is likely at least part Betula populifolia which is more slender framed than Betula platyphylla. It usually comes true from seed.

* photo taken on July 25 in Columbia, MD



Betula populifolia ( Gray Birch )

Very similar to Betula pendula but shirt lived and native to the Appalation Mountains of eastern North America ( from Huron Co. and Waubaushene, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario to Quebec City, Quebec to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; south to northeast Ohio and West Virginia to western Maryland to most of New Jersey ). It is found locally in northwest Indiana and is considered endangered in that state as well as in Ohio. Very fast growing and multi stemmed with slender trunks that often bend over in heavy snow and ice. While it is often stunted growing out of rock at high elevations; on good sites it can grow very fast up to 23 feet in 8 years & 60 x 40 feet in 20 years. That is about as large as it gets; the largest ever recorded is only 80 x 45 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. The fastest growth rate recorded on the Gray Birch is 5 feet. The branches are very strong on this Birch.
The bark is white becoming fissured at the base on older trees.
The foliage is shiny dark green, serrated and diamond shaped to 3 inches ( 5 x 4 inches on vigorous shoots ) and turns gold in the fall. The Gray Birch leafs out very early in spring.
Flowers occur in the spring. The male catkins up to 4 inches long and the pendulous female ones to only an inch in length.
The bark is white and not peeling. It does become blackened at the base of the tree and there are black marks under the branches.
The wood weighs around 35 pounds per square foot.
Though this Birch prefers cool climates; it does grow better than the Silver Birch ( Betula pendula ) and shows some borer resistance in northern Virginia. The Gray Birch is the shortest lived of the Birches only living up to 55 years. Its main purpose in the wild is to colonize barren land and provide shelter for other trees such as Oak and Hickory to get established.
Hardy from zone 2 to 6. Also grows well in western Europe.

* photos taken on April 5 2010 near Wilkes-Barre, PA



* photos taken on Aug 1 2011 in Luzerne Co, PA


* photos taken on Nov 25 2012 near Wilkes-Barre, PA

* photo taken on Mar 15 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Aug 29 2016 in Luzerne Co., MD

* photo taken by W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


Betula potanini ( Tibetan Birch )
A vigorous shrub or small tree, reaches a maximum size of 30 x 20 ( rarely over 17 ) feet with a trunk diameter of 7 inches. It is native to western China.
The toothed, lance-shaped to oval leaves are up to 2 x 1 inches in size. The deeply-veined, leathery foliage is blue-green above and rusty-red beneath; turning to golden-yellow during autumn. The very attractive foliage is unique among birches.
The catkins during late spring, are very short to only 0.5 inches.
The bark is rough and brown.
Hardy from zone 3 to 8 and can tolerate - 40 F. It is very drought tolerant and completely immune to borers, leaf minor and Japanese Beetle.

* excellent photo link
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3880/14475353635_44f885510f_b.jpg

Betula pubescens ( Downy Birch )

Native to northern Eurasia ( central & southern Europe in high mountains ), Iceland and Greenland; this Birch forms a moderately dense, conical fast growing tree to 80 feet. It can reach 50 feet in 20 years and the largest on record is 101 feet tall; 60 feet wide with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. It can reach 4 feet in height in the second year. The fastest growth rate recorded is also 4 feet.
The toothed, elliptical leaves, up to 3 x 2.5 inches in size, are hairy when young. The deep green foliage turns to golden-yellow during autumn.
The spring flowers are 2.5 inch yellow drooping catkins for the male and 1 inch green catkins for the female.
The timber is used for furniture and the bark is dull brownish-white to white all the way to the base ( unlike Betula pendula ) and peeling in strips with conspicuous horizontal lenticals.
It is not always easy to tell apart from Betula pendula. It is distinguishable by its stems which are hairy and do not weep.
Flood tolerant and hardy form zone 1 to 6. This Birch needs cool climates and high humidity. It is well adapted for the cooler Boreal Region of Canada and interior Alaska but grows poorly in most of the U.S. where other Birches are much better suited.

* photo taken by W.H. Shaffer @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historic archive photo

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id143017/?taxonid=3435

subsp. carpatica
a denser branched smaller tree with a maximum size of 47 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id24918/?taxonid=3436

subsp. tortuosa
among the worlds most cold hardy trees; it grows wild on Baffin Island in far northern Canada. On the best of sites it can reach up to 40 feet in height with a contorted trunk. The bark is dark brown.

Betula pumila ( American Dwarf Birch )

Native to most of Canada and the Great Lakes region ( from far northern Yukon to Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories to far northeast Saskatchewan to far northern Ontario to Newfoundland and Labrador; south to northern California to western Montana to central Saskatchewan to southeast North Dakota to northern Illinois to northern Ohio to northern New Jersey ); this Birch often forms a dwarf erect shrub only 3 feet high. Very rarely on ideal sites it can reach up to 2 feet in second year and eventually reach 25 x 16 feet. It is considered endangered in Iowa, Ohio, New York State and all of New England. It is found in swamps, bogs and lakeshores in the wild.
The roughly-serrated, rounded to elliptic leaves are up to 3 x 2 ( rarely 4 x 2 ) inches in size.
The foliage is green above, white beneath and turns blazing scarlet-red during autumn.
The spring catkins are short up to only an inch in length.
Hardy from zone 1 to 6 and grows wild in bogs and wooded swamps.

* photo taken by Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Betula raddeana
A small tree native to western Asia ( from Black to Caspian Sea region ) reaching 20 x 20 feet on average; on ideal sites it can become much larger. Some records include: 42 years - 43 feet with a trunk diameter of 17 inches; tallest on record - 53 feet.
The small, toothed, pointed-oval leaves, up to 2 x 2 inches, turn golden-yellow during autumn.
The bark is orange-pink and smooth.
Hardy from zone 5 to 9

Betula rotundifolia
Also called Betula glandulosa var. rotundifolia. A deciduous shrub, reaching up to 6.5 feet in height, that is native to mountains from Kazakhstan to Siberia; south to Xinjiang province of northwestern China as well as western & central Mongolia.
The rounded leaves are up to 1 x 0.8 inches in size. The foliage is glossy bright green..
The flower catkins, up to 1 x 0.3 inches in size, appear during early summer.
The bark is dark gray. The twigs are reddish-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 6 in full sun on very well drained soil.

Betula saposhnikovii ( Salmon-Bark Birch )
An extremely rare medium-size tree native to the Tien Shan mountain region in central Asia. Some records include: 3 years - 7 feet; 30 years - 37 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The coarsely double-toothed, ovate to triangular leaves are glossy bright green at first, later turning to blue-green.
The flower catkins are yellow.
The bark is slightly peeling, smooth, glossy creamy-salmon.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on moist, sandy, well drained soil.

Betula schmidtii ( Schmidt's Birch )
A handsome fast growing tree native to Manchuria, Korea and Japan. One of the largest of all Birches with the record being 120 feet in height and trunk diameter of 8 feet. The trunk is heavy set with shaggy dark brown bark that furrows into large plates. Rarely seen in North America, it is known to grow at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada.
The toothed, pointed leaves are up to 5 x 2 inches in size. The bright green foliage turns a glowing golden-yellow during autumn.
The catkins are short.
Hardy from zone 4 to 9 and should be tested in zone 3; it thrives in much of Midwest and eastern North America.

* historic archive photo

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id121537/?taxonid=274756

Betula szechuanica ( Szechuan Birch )
Also called Betula pendula ssp. szechuanica. A rare, fast growing ( to 3 feet per year ) white-barked Birch reaching up to 82 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 2.5 feet. It is native to mountain scrub in southeast Tibet and western China.
The leaves, up to 5 inches long, are similar to that of closely related Betula platyphylla. The foliage is glossy deep blue-green in color.
The bark is white.
Hardy zones 5 to 8, it is likely more drought tolerant than Betula pendula.

Betula tianschanica
A rare Birch native of northwest China & central Asia ( esp Tien Shan mountain region ) with peeling light yellow to creamy pink bark. It is a very attractive, fast growing but small tree, reaching as much as 16 feet in 5 years however the largest on record is only 50 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 inches.
The small, double-toothed leaves, up to 1.7 x 1.3 inches, turn to glowing yellow during autumn.
It is hardy from zone 3 to 6 and thrives at high elevations making it a great street tree in such climates. Rare

Betula turkestanica ( Turkestan Birch )

A rare Birch from Turkestan; it can reach up to 60 feet tall, 40 feet wide with a diameter up to 1.4 feet. It is moderate growing up to 2 feet per year. It is a pretty tree with yellowish-white peeling bark.
The toothed ovate leaves are glossy bright green.
Hardy from zone 4a to 6a.

Betula uber ( Roundleaf Birch )

A very attractive small to medium size tree to 30 feet; some records include: 20 years - 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 inches; largest on record - 60 x 40 feet with trunk diameter of 1 foot. An endangered Virginia native only occuring in Smyth County in the wild.
The rounded leaves, up to 3 x 2.5 inches in size, are deep green.
The bark is red-brown and smooth.
Hardy from zone 3 to 7 and grows well in the Mid Atlantic incl. northern Virginia. Flood tolerant.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA



Betula utilis ( Himalayan Birch )
A large elegant Birch native high mountain forests of China and the Himalayas. Fast growing to 60 feet; some records include: fastest growth rate - 7 feet x 1.3 inch diameter increase; 2 years - 5 feet; 3 years - 8 feet; 5 years - 13 x 10 feet; 10 years - 25 x 15 feet; 20 years - 82 x 33 feet; 48 years - trunk diameter of 2.7 feet; largest tree on record - 125 x 40 feet with trunk diameter of 6.7 feet. The trunk can reach up to 5 feet in diameter in just 85 years.
The thick, leathery, toothed, tapering oval leaves are up to 4 or sometimes 6 inches in length. They are deep green and sometimes glossy during summer turning rich golden yellow in autumn.
The flowers are in spring. The male catkins are yellow and up to 7.5 inches and the female ones are erect and much shorter.
Bark us usually orange-brown or pinkish and peels off in thin horizontal strips.
Hardy from zone 4 to 8. Much more heat tolerant and more borer resistant ( though not immune ) than the Silver Birch ( Betula pendula ). Due to this Birches tendency to hybridize - if you want a pure bred then reproduce it from softwood cuttings in early summer.

subsp. Jacquemonti

From Kashmir has shiny pure white bark and is the form generally seen in cultivation. It is spectacular against a dark barkground.

* photo taken @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD in March 2002

* photo taken on March 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Dec 2012 in Wilkes-Barre, PA


* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

* excellent photo link found on internet
http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id18852/?taxonid=254632

* video found on Youtube


'Grayswood Ghost'
Very attractive form with brilliant white bark and very glossy dark green foliage.

'Jermyns'
Very vigorous with large broad leaves. Can reach up to 65 feet in 40 years.
Flower catkins up to 7 inches in length.

'Kashmir White'
Hardy north to zone 3 with brilliant white bark and glossy leaves.

'Ramdama River'
Pure white bark and glossy green foliage.

'Silver Shadow'
Pure white non peeling bark compliments the large, drooping, luxuriant deep green leaves, up to 6 x 3 inches in size.

subsp. prattii
From western China; has glossy red bark with white horizontal lentical banding, peeling off in shaggy layers. Tallest recorded is 72 feet, potential to grow more.



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