E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Betula pubescens Ehrh.
downy birch (European white birch; silver birch)
Betulaceae (Birch family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Betula pubescens
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Betula pubescens ssp. pubescens

Species Information

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Deciduous tree, 10-30 m tall; bark white or brown, often peeling; twigs short-hairy, not glandular.
Alternate, deciduous, rounded in outline, hairy below, rarely glandular, 1-5 cm long.
Male and female flowers in separate catkins, the male 3-6 cm long, the female 1-4 cm long; flowers emerging before or with the leaves; catkins breaking up at maturity.
Nutlets with broad wings, at least 1-1 1/2 times as wide as the body of the nutlets; bracts with rounded lateral lobes.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known from the lower Fraser Valley and extreme SE Vancouver Island; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Betula alba L.
Betula pubescens subsp. pubescens Ehrh.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References