Silver Birch Betula pendula

The Silver Birch is widespread in Britain, occurring naturally on heathland and moorland. It has been planted extensively in urban areas as an ornamental tree. Its weeping branches and silver bark make it very attractive. It can be confused with the Downy Birch which grows in wetter, non-chalky areas. The black arrows and diamonds of the bark distinguish this birch from many others varieties of ornamental birch that are planted in urban areas.

Silver Birch in September on heathland.

The leaf has teeth (shown by the arrows) that stick out and bend down towards the leaf tip. In between these teeth are smaller teeth. This arrangement of teeth is different from the Downy Birch which has more regular teeth.

Male catkinS open to release pollen in May.

Female catkins with male catkins in April, just before the leaves. The female catkins are small and pale green.

Female catkin and seeds. This catkin has been broken up to show the seeds. Photo taken in late July but the seeds will not be shed until autumn.

Young trees have very white bark with large black diamonds. Bark on ancient trees is ridged and cracked into rugged plates at ground level.