THE SILVER BIRCH - Betula pendula

THE SILVER BIRCH - Betula pendula

Native to the United Kingdom, Europe and even south-west Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey and the Caucasus, the Silver Birch - Betula pendula is one of just 60 species within the genus of deciduous trees.

It is a hardy, medium -sized ornamental tree with a graceful habit and beautiful bark and as such makes for an attractive specimen. As indicated by the common name the bark a silvery-white in colour which in mature trees becomes rough at the base.

Growing to a height of around 20-30 ft, the silver birch species bears both male and female catkins. Bourne in April and May, the pale yellow male catkins can grow between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches long, while the smaller, insignificant female catkins are shades of green.

Silver birch trees native to Great Britain are often found growing on thin acid or dry, sandy soils. Bare-root specimens can be planted in October to March while pot-grown plants can be planted at any time of year. The silver birch has wide spreading surface roots and as such should not be planted near borders of fences.

Previously listed as Betula verrucosa, it was named by Jakob Friedrich Ehrhart (1742– 1795) a German botanist, and a a pupil of Carolus Linnaeus at Uppsala University.

The silver birch has the lesser known common name of 'Lady of the Woods' which is expressed in the main photo using the medium of photoshop.

Betula pendula received the RHS Award of Garden merit in 1984.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Bomarea caldasii
Japanese Flowering Cherries - Prunus species

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