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Betula pubescens - Downy birch

Betula pubescens is a fast growing, deciduous tree with an oval crown and stunning bark.

Diamond shaped leaves are a deep green with a toothed edge and ‘downy’ white hairs on the underside, turning golden yellow in autumn.

Its form is spreading and branches are more upright than the Betula pendula. The trunk is brown when young, aging to white with deep fissures and peeling in thin plates, creating year round interest. Betula pubescens is monoecious, meaning it has both male and female flowers on the same tree. On a Betula, they are in the form of catkins. Appearing in spring time, male catkins are long and brown, whereas female are shorter and green.

Native to Central and North Europe, it is usually found in more moist locations and will tolerate short flooding well. Best grown in full sun or partial shade with moist, well drained soil.

FACT: Supporting over 300 different species of insect and birds, the Betula pubescens is an incredibly valuable tree to our wildlife.
Along with the Betula pendula, the Downy birch were some of the first trees to re-establish itself after the ice age.

Plant Profile

Name: Betula pubescens

Common Name: Downy birch

Family: Betulaceae

Height: 20.0 + metres

Width: 4.0-8.0m

Demands: Full sun or partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained. Will tolerate short flooding

Foliage: Green, diamond shaped leaves, turning golden yellow in autumn

Flowers: Yellow and green catkins appear in springtime

Betula pubescens info sheet

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