How to identify a silver birch tree
How do you identify a silver birch tree?
Wondering if you are looking at a silver birch tree? Your clues are their leaves, buds, catkins and bark. Here’s what they look like at-a-glance (P.S. Here is a quick link to my downy birch profile):
Silver Birch tree facts
Hello! In today’s guide we are going to learn how to identify a silver birch tree. Are you ready? Let’s get started! Here are a few silver birch facts:
- Common name: Birch – Silver
- Latin name: Betula pendula
- Family: Betulacea
Silver birch trees can grow up to 30 meters, live for up to 60 years and prefer to grow in dry woodlands and heaths.
Silver birch leaves
Silver birch leaves are triangular in shape, with a stepped, toothed margin.
Silver birch buds
Their buds are thin and cylindrical, with the scales wrapped spirally.
The young catkins are small, short and upright (female) or longer, yellow-brown and grouped in small clusters and hanging down (male)
Mature catkins become plump and red, turning to scaly and brown (female) or long, soft and droopy (male)
Trees that look similar to birch
Hazel catkins, when young, can look like birch catkins, but are greener in colour and have a more criss-crossed texture.
Silver birch tree uses
- Medicinal – Silver birch is traditionally used as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory
- Dyes – Its leaves give yellow and its bark gives brown or pink dyes
- Bushcraft – Silver birches are used for fire lighting and can be tapped for its syrup
- Wildlife – Silver birch trees are home to a diverse number of fungi such as the fly agaric, birch polypore and chantarelle
- Industry – As a strong, hard wood, birches are used in furniture and toy production
- Environment – As a pioneer species, helps improve soil fertility and nitrogen in the soil