Betula albosinensis

4 Mar

Betula albosinensis (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula albosinensis (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 25m

Eventual Spread: 15m

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b

Family: Betulaceae

Betula albosinensis (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula albosinensis (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula albosinensis is a fast growing deciduous tree with an open, upright habit. Its dark green leaves are ovate with serrate margins, up to 8cm long and 5cm broad. Its leaves turn golden yellow before they fall in autumn. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 60cm. Its pink/ red bark is smooth and flakes in horizontal strips. Its monoecious flowers are in the form of yellow/ brown 7cm long catkins, are wind pollinated and appear at about the same time as its leaves. Its fruit is a cylindrical aggregate, up to 7cm long and it disintegrates upon maturity.

Betula albosinensis, commonly known as the Chinese Red Birch, is native to to central and west China. This tree was introduced into the UK in 1901 by Ernest Wilson.

Betula albosinensis Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula albosinensis Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial name Betula is the old Latin name for the Birch tree.  Albosinensis is derived from the Latin albo meaning ‘white’ and Sinensis is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from China’.

The landscape architect may find Betula albosinensis useful as a specimen tree with attractive winter bark. Once established this tree is drought tolerant.

Betula albosinensis Bark (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula albosinensis Bark (09/02/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Betula albosinensis provides a valuable source of pollen for insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the variety Betula albosinensis var. septentrionalis their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Betula albosinensis prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Betula albosinensis requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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