An introduction to a trio of beautiful Birch trees

A quick guide to three popular Birch trees, including Betula Pendula, Betula jacquemontii and Betula Nigra.


Several Silver Birch trees
Silver birch trees displaying distinctive silver bark


Silver Birch
Silver birch trees take on a whole new measure of importance in the winter months. Through the grey winter months a splash of bright white bark can enlighten any garden. This native tree is widely planted through the UK both in amenity and woodland settings.

A particularly valuable tree for a small garden, it will grow to around thirty feet tall, has an upright, compact habit and rather graceful arching lateral branches. Birch trees will grow almost anywhere in most soils that are reasonably well drained.


Birch tree in garden with woodpecker close up
A majestic Birch tree alongside a driveway creates a wonderful approach to any home. Birch trees can provide a valuable habitat for wild birds.

Himalayan Birch
In recent years the native birch has often been confused with the cultivar Betula utilis jaquemontii, the Himalayan birch which has an even more strikingly white bark than Betula pendula. It has now become one of the most popular trees in the UK and is particularly effective in urban settings, where it is often planted in a group setting to great effect.


Various Birch trees
From left: Silver Birch leaf foliage, Himalayan Birch trees, River Birch bark detail.


River Birch

Another type of birch that is finally being specified in wetter environments is the River birch, Betula Nigra. A most valuable tree that has until recently been undervalued by architects and designers. Apart from providing an alternative to the willows and alders, Betula nigra has an impressive peeling bark that once again is particularly valuable in the winter months.



Further reading about Birch Trees

Birch Trees

RHS – Silver Birch

RHS – River Birch

RHS – Birch for winter interest 

Purchase Birch Trees

Silver Birch Tree

Himalayan Birch Tree

River Birch Tree