Silver Birch, Betula pendula

Identification Features:

  • Bark: Smooth, silvery-white, often peeling away to reveal grey or pinky-orange underneath. More mature trees developing dark, diamond-shaped fissures. The lower part of the trunk typically becomes very deeply fissured, rugged and corky.
  • Twigs: Fine, delicate, smooth, burgundy color with many white resin glands. Shoots pendulous.
  • Buds: Small (4-5mm), green, egg-shaped and pointed.

Description/General Character:
Vigorous, fast-growing pioneer species. Young branches point upwards but eventually, their tips take on a weeping nature, putting the pendulous in pendula.

Widespread tree throughout northern Europe, extending into northern Asia.Habitat: In forests throughout its range. Forming stands on open hillsides and heath. It can be one of, if not the only, deciduous tree in upland areas and amongst the needled-trees at the northerly extent of its range.

Other Observations:
Catkins from early in winter. Male catkins shiny green to brown-purple in clusters of 2-4.

Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


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