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BETULA maximowicziana

Image of Betula maximowicziana

Jesse Saylor

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA maximowicziana

Plant Common Name

Monarch Birch

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Pretty bark, massive leaves and excellent/reliable golden fall foliage color are prized attributes of the monarch birch. This rather fast-growing deciduous tree is native to Russia's Kurile Islands and Japan. It has an open habit when young but becomes quite stiff and upright - more so than other birch species - at maturity.

Monarch birch's bark is orange or pink-tinged bark that becomes grayish white. It peels away in horizontal strips. Another key identification feature are the leaves. They are huge and heart-shaped, almost akin to an American basswood. Each leaf is downy when first emerging, but becomes deep green with doubly toothed edges. In fall they turn golden yellow.

Flowering occurs in early spring. Tiny flowers are found in pendulous catkins. Male catkins are held singly and are longer, while female types are shorter and often in clusters of two to four. After wind pollination, tiny nutlets develop in female catkins. They ripen by late summer.

Grow the monarch birch in abundant sunshine. Any moderately fertile soil that is moist but well drained will do. Use this tree in the lawn to cast light shade and provide four-season interest.

The monarch birch is difficult to find in nurseries. Moreover, trees are grown from seed so the quality of trees varies per individual, especially regarding showiness of bark. This easy-to-grow birch is reputed to have good resistance to bronze birch borers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    70'-100' / 21.3m - 30.5m

  • Width

    28'-40' / 8.5m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring

  • Native To

    Russia/Siberia, Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Bronze, Sandy Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Gold

  • Bark Color

    White, Orange, Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No