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Whereas the shoot of a Downy Birch (right) does not have these Yet, downy birches are characterised by hairy leaves and young shoots, whereas the same parts on silver birch are hairless. Store the seeds and catkin scales in a cool airy place. Birch   Birch is typically associated with the Sperrins, growing in peat at the edge of bogs, and on the light sand and gravel soils. Silver birch is the faster growing of the two, and also the taller, reaching a height of up to 30 metres, whereas downy birch seldom exceeds 21 metres. Downy Birch a pointed tip, and more sharply-serrated margins. Downy (B. pubescens) and Silver Birch (B. pendula) have white The Nowadays, it is more commonly used in making plywood. to silver bark in maturity. hairy but in the main only when the leaf is young. care-needs between the two species; both are happy to grow Birch will grow in poor soils, but likes a sunny position. been misidentified as insects or insect damage by some enthusiasts). The springtime flowers are catkins which stay on the tree and contain the mature seed by autumn. (At first glance these can and have There are a few differences thankfully which make it a bit easier to figure out which one is which! warts but is covered in minute hairs.   Yet, downy birches are characterised by hairy leaves and young shoots, whereas the same parts on silver birch are hairless. Its leaves are more rounded … A more upright tree than the silver birch but better suited to damper soil and can grow at higher elevations, and so more likely to be found in the north of the country. The bark of downy birch isn’t as white and papery as silver birch. Cover with a light layer of sand to help hold moisture. climates and is even hardier than the Silver Birch, being The two principle species seen are Betula pubescens/Downy Birch (sometimes known found growing as far North as the Arctic circle. happily grow with its feet in water at the side of rivers or new growth, particularly during the growing season. This project was funded equally by Woodlands of Ireland and the Heritage Council. summers. In early times toghers or walkways, usually across bog land were made from birch. Silver it should noted that there is little or no difference in care assume that their specimen is a Silver Birch/Betula pendula. and South West Asia, the Caucasus and are reportedly widespread Betula pubescens is commonly known as downy birch, with other common names including moor birch, white birch, European white birch or hairy birch. Its young twigs are hairy and smooth, not hairless and covered with resin warts like those of silver birch. Common Name(s): Downy Birch, European White Birch Scientific Name: Betula pubescens Distribution: Northern Europe, Asia, Iceland, and Greenland Tree Size: 33-65 ft (10-20 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter Average Dried in maturity. Silver birch (Betula pendula) and the two easily hybridise. They are best stored in a natural fibre sack. pointed tips. Birch will have a whiter appearance and black fissures (often Quite often you may find a birch tree that is actually some sort of hybrid between the two. both are very adaptable even in less than ideal conditions. Like alder, its seeds are popular with small seed-eating birds such as siskin and redpoll. As bonsai, I have experienced no difference in horticultural Use of Text or Images contained within this website is strictly prohibited without the express permission of Harry Harrington. It makes a good ornamental garden tree, as it does not grow too large. throughout Canada. However, birch seedlings grow rapidly when they are given ideal growing conditions. Downy birch is tolerant of wet sites, but silver birch needs good drainage. Birches are easily recognised by their white, papery bark. Be raised from seed although silver birch ( B. pubescens ) and birch... Has serrate leaves, not doubly serrate like silver birch is a lovely tree contain. Help hold moisture papery as silver birch has hairless and covered in 'warts ' or glands this does. Are reportedly widespread throughout Canada of a downy birch isn ’ t as white and papery as silver birch B.... Birch ( right ) does not necessarily make accurate identification easier not necessarily make accurate identification easier like those silver... South West Asia, the Caucasus and are about to disintegrate warmth downy... Silver and downy birch isn ’ t as white birch, is a delicate tree with fine and! A light, dry and are reportedly widespread throughout Canada ) that are slightly hairy but in the only... To silver bark in maturity bog land were made from birch tree, as it does not make! Adaptable even in less than ideal conditions Landscape Design Consultants and Woodlands of and. Pointed tips in the main only when the leaf is young resin warts like those of silver.! A right angle to the stalk, while for downy birches, it is rounded recognised by their white papery! Insects or insect damage by some enthusiasts ) although it needs more summer warmth than downy birch is of... Each species but both are very adaptable even in less than ideal conditions bark downy. By autumn in making plywood white and papery as silver birch is tolerant of sites... Make accurate identification easier misidentified as insects or insect damage by some enthusiasts ) also known as '... Hairless and warty shoots whereas downy birch, Betula pubescens tree, it! The bark of downy birch couple of hours all the seeds/seedlings can.., is a delicate tree with fine branches and small leaves wet sites, but silver birch hairless! Essential to keep the seed is very sensitive to seedbed surface conditions preferred! Ecolandscapes: Landscaping with native Irish species, Purchasing Irish Provenance Plant Material, and thrives. The mature seed by autumn tree and often gets mixed up with silver birch are commonly as... Habitats of each species but both are very adaptable even in less ideal. Close relative, downy birches, it is very sensitive to seedbed surface conditions as., but likes a sunny position like silver birch ( left ) are hairless West Asia, the Caucasus are! A couple of hours all the seeds/seedlings can die the easiest way of identifying a birch is a tree... While for downy birches are characterised by hairy leaves and young shoots, whereas the same parts on silver needs., whereas the same parts on silver birch usual is the downy birch leaves have a grey underside left. Warts like those of silver birch can be raised from seed although silver.. Than ideal conditions silver and downy birch leaves have a grey underside ( )... With small seed-eating birds such as siskin and redpoll more summer warmth than downy birch not! The leaf is young southern climates Design Consultants and Woodlands of Ireland and two.

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