Betula utilis

24 Jul

Betula utilis Bark (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula utilis Bark (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 20m

Eventual Spread: 12m

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Betulaceae

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

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

Betula utilis is a small deciduous tree with an open habit. Its light green leaves are ovate with serrate margins, up to 9cm long and 5cm across. Its leaves turn yellow in autumn before they fall. Its orange/ light brown bark has cream lenticels running horizontally. Its flowers are male and female catkins. The fruit of the female catkins are dispersed by wind.

Betula utilis Bark (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula utilis Bark (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula utilis, commonly known as Chinese Red Birch or Himalayan Birch, is native to central China. In its native habitat it grows with scattered conifers with an understory of shrubs.

The etymological root of the binomial name Betula is the old Latin name for the Birch tree. Utilis is from the Latin meaning ‘useful’ and refers to the usefulness of its bark.

The landscape architect may find Betula utilis useful as a small deciduous tree with attractive bark and an open habit which provides dappled shade.

Betula utilis Flower (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Betula utilis Flower (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Betula utilis flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. The fruit of this tree is attractive to some birds and mammals.

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

Betula utilis requires little to no maintenance. The lower branches may be pruned back to reveal the bark at eye level.

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Landscape Architecture

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