Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

Downy Birch can grow to 25 metres in height and has brownish grey bark which is quite smooth and has no rough fissures near its base, distinguishing it from Silver Birch. The branches are more upright than Silver Birch and are not pendulous as the tree matures. The leaves are broader with a much blunter tip than Silver Birch. The teeth on the leaf margins are generally all of the same size. The leaf stalks are hairy and the catkins similar to those of Silver Birch. Downy Birch tends to grow on moist, peaty soils and can form woodlands. It is often confused with Silver Birch which hybridises readily with it. In Britain, the true Downy Birch is just as common as Silver Birch.