European White Birch
Family: Betulaceae (View Members of Betulaceae)

Genus and Species: Betula pendula

Leaves: The leaves are 1-2.5" (2.5-6cm) long and 1-1.5" (2.5-4cm) wide. (View Measured Leaf) The are almost triangular in shape, but not as much as the Gray Birch. The tip is very long and pointed and the base is almost straight across. The leaves are doubly saw-toothed and are dull green above and paler underneath. (View Leaves)

Bark: The bark is generally very smooth and white. Easily removed by peeling and makes a great fire starter as it burns rapidly. (View Bark) The twigs are drooping, slender and have small resin gland-dots.

Fruit: The cones are 0.75-1.5" (2-4cm) long, cylindrical, green at first, but brown when ripe. When ripe, they break apart very easily into small nutlets with two wings and bracts with three lobes. (View Fruit)

Tree: The tree grows to be 50' (15m) tall and has a spreading crown of drooping branches, similar to other birches like the Gray Birch, as pictured to the left.

Range and Habitat: They are native of Europe and Asia, however, European White Birches are often planted in the United States. They are usually found in moist soils and planted in lawns because they are so ornamental and decorative with their gracefully drooping branches and clean white bark.

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European White Birch Tree (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 9/29/02)