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BETULA pendula

Image of Betula pendula

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

BETULA pendula

Plant Common Name

Common Birch, European White Birch, Silver Birch

General Description

European white birch is a softly pyramidal tree when young, becoming more rounded at maturity with graceful arching branches. This high-altitude native of northern Europe and Asia features beautiful white, exfoliating bark and deeply-cut, lacy leaves. Small greenish catkins appear in the spring and are quite eye-catching.

European white birch is tolerant of both wet and dry soils in full sun. This handsome tree has been used extensively in the cool-climate park landscapes. However, its use is declining due to its high suceptability to bronze birch borer attacks, especially as trees are first stressed and weakened by drought. There are many cultivars available including the purple-leaved 'Monte' and the dwarf 'Trost'. 'Gracilis' and 'Youngii' make excellent weeping form specimens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-70' / 12.2m - 21.3m (50)

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Northern Europe, Russia/Siberia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Brown

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No