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12 Birch Trees and Shrubs

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Birch trees belong to the genus Betula. Their beautiful bark and leaves make them a common choice for the landscape.

1. Cherry Birch

Cherry birch is the common name for Betula lenta
Photo : Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula lenta
Other Name(s): Black birch, sweet birch, mahogany birch, Virginia roundleaf birch or spice birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-8
Size: 40-70' tall and 35-35' wide
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

2. Dahurian Birch

Dahurian birch is resistant to birch leafminer
Photo : Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula davurica
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Hardy to Zone 5
Size: 40-60' tall
Exposure: Full sun

3. Downy Birch

Downy birch, Betula pubescens, is also called hairy birch
Photo : Flickr user Sara Björk

Latin Name: Betula pubescens
Other Name(s): Hairy birch, white birch, American white birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 2-9. May grow in Zone 1
Size: About 40' tall and 35' wide
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

4. Dwarf Birch

Betula nana, known as dwarf birch, is a hardy shrub
Photo : Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula nana
Other Name(s): Bog birch, Arctic birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 1-8
Size: 6"-3' tall
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

5. Himalayan Birch

The Himalayan birch, Betula jacquemontii, is also known as the Jacquemonti birch
Photo : Flickr user alexlomas

Latin Name: Betula jacquemontii. Also Betula utilis var 'Jacquemontii'
Other Name(s): White-barked Himalayan Birch, Jacquemonti Birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 4-7
Size: 30-50' tall and about 20' wide
Exposure: Full sun, can take some light shade

6. Japanese White Birch

Japanese white birch is the common name for Betula platyphylla var. Japonica
Photo : Flickr user TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)

Latin Name: Betula platyphylla 'Japonica'
Other Name: Asian White Birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-8
Size: 40-50' tall and 15-30' wide
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

7. Paper Bark Birch

Paper Bark Birch Blog
Photo © Sue Sweeney
Latin Name: Betula papyrifera
Other Name(s): Canoe birch, white birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: 2-7
Size: 45-70' tall and 20-35' wide
Exposure: Full sun, some light shade

8. River Birch

River birch (Betula nigra) is also known as red birch
Photo : Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula nigra
Other Name(s): Red Birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 4-9
Size: 40-70' tall and 40-60' wide
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

9. Silver Birch

Betula pendula is known by many names - most commonly, silver birch and European white birch
Photo : Norbert Frank, University of West Hungary, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula pendula. Also Betula verrucosa
Other Name(s): European birch, European white birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: 2-7. Can be grown in 8 and 9, but will have a shorter life.
Size: 40-80' tall and 10-25' wide. Will vary depending on the cultivar chosen.
Exposure: Full sun

10. Water Birch

Betula fontinalis is the scientific name for the Water Birch
Photo © Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula occidentalis. Also Betula fontinalis
Other Names: Western birch, red birch, river birch, black birch, Western red birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-7
Size: Shrubby form. Usually up to 25' tall, sometimes to 40'.
Exposure: Full sun-part shade

11. Weeping Birches

Young's Weeping Birch is one variety of weeping trees (Betula pendula 'Youngii')
Photo : Flickr user wlcutler

Weeping birches are different varieties of Silver birch, or Betula pendula. Exact details such as zones will depend on the particular variety.

Common varieties include:

  • Curly birch ('Carelica')
  • Cutleaf weeping European birch ('Gracilis')
  • Golden cloud weeping birch ('Golden Cloud')
  • Purple weeping birch ('Purpurea')
  • Swedish birch ('Dalecarlica' or 'Laciniata')
  • Tristis weeping birch ('Tristis')
  • Young's weeping birch ('Youngii') (pictured)

12. Yellow Birch

Betula alleghaniensis is the scientific name of the yellow birch
Photo : Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Latin Name: Betula alleghaniensis
Other Name(s): Swamp birch, curly birch, gold birch, hard birch
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-7
Size: 50-80' tall and 30-50' wide
Exposure: Full sun-part shade
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