Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Silver Birch, Warty Birch, European White Birch, Irish Beith
Betula pendula

Family: Betulaceae (beh-tyoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Betula (BET-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: pendula (PEND-yoo-luh) (Info)

Synonym:Betula verrucosa

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

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20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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5 positives
3 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Rickwebb On Dec 3, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

The European White Birch is a very pretty tree that has smaller leaves and finer texture than other birch, and it has a slightly weeping aspect to its habit, plus tight white bark. The negative aspect is that this species is very susceptible to the Bronze Birch Borer Beetle because it is easily stressed by heat and drought. It usually only lives about 20 years in the Chicago, IL. or Philadelphia, PA, areas because of hot, dry summers that happen. Water during drought.

Positive DMersh On Jul 17, 2012, DMersh from Perth
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

Thin white barked tree very common in Europe and Russia, grows in many soil types from acidic to alkaline. One of the hardiest hardwood trees it grows into the cold tundra lands of northern Russia and is one of the last hardwoods found on mountains before the treeless zone begins.

Positive ccluna On Feb 3, 2012, ccluna from Riverside, CA wrote:

Grows great in Southern California. Granitic soil, clay soil, any soil. Doesn't seem to matter. Gives some seasonality to us. The hummingbirds love to roost in them. Roots can stay on the surface if there are in rocky soil.

Neutral suentommy On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a beautiful tree and reminds me of all the white birches I saw when I was little in northern New Hampshire. I tried growing this tree twice and gave the trees plenty of water and a sheltered location from the hot sun but they both died. I guess the birch borer got to them. I gave up and planted river birches, which are pretty, but not as pretty as the white birches. My inlaws had a white birch that often dropped its leaves but did not die. They lived near us in southeastern PA. Is there any way to avoid the birch borer around here?

Positive jimbodw07 On May 7, 2010, jimbodw07 from Pinon Hills, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This tree is absolutely beautiful. The tree however, when it's hot will wilt a bit so keep the soil moist. Up here in the high desert, it thrives with a nice 4 inch layer of mulch. Leaves turn gold in the fall.

Positive purplesun On Nov 4, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

A very common tree here. It grows on hot sites and on cold sites, on dry sites and on wet sites, at altitude and at sea level. Very versatile and useful for its white bark.

Negative snadler On Jun 27, 2007, snadler from Oceanside, NY wrote:

I live in Long Island,New York.The tree did great for the first year and then was infected with bronze birch borer.
Unfortunate as it was my favorite tree in a backyard of over 20 trees.

Positive angelam On May 9, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

This is a lovely, graceful tree. It grows well in our Zone 10 city gardens (not American so not subject to the pest mentioned in the previous entry).So well it is being overused at the moment, every development seems to be planted with them.
We've grown it from seed. Our tree is now 11 years old and about 15 ft high. The leaves are delicate and constantly on the move, it provides only the lightest of shade. I've been systematically pruning branches off the trunk as it grows, to about a third of the height, the better to enjoy the bark. I understand this should only be done in Winter or the tree will ''bleed'' heavily and be weakened or killed.

Neutral WAYNEB On Nov 14, 2002, WAYNEB wrote:

Unfortunately, this species as well as white-barked birches in general, usually do not thrive in zone 7 and warmer. They are often killed by the bronze birch borer in those areas of the U.S.A. A more commonly used birch in those warmer areas is a native to the south, Betula nigra - River Birch.

Neutral Baa On Nov 13, 2002, Baa wrote:

A slim tree native to Europe, Russia and Western Asia.

Has ovate to diamond shaped, pale to mid-green, toothed leaves that turn yellow in autumn. Bears small brown-yellow male catkins. The bark is greyish white and slightly flakes from the tree, as the tree ages the bark breaks giving a diamond pattern at the bottom of the trunk.

Loves moist but well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. It may need some shade during the hottest part of the day in warm regions. In cold regions the twigs may suffer a little from cold drying winds so place in a sheltered spot.

Some European bird species eat the seeds and the sap was once used to tan leather. The young leaves have also been used as a diuretic in the past.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Flagstaff, Arizona
Carlsbad, California
Fremont, California
Moreno Valley, California
Pinon Hills, California
Riverside, California
Topanga, California
Pensacola, Florida
Batavia, Illinois
Salem, Oregon
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Orem, Utah

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