Downy Birch - Betula pubescens


    Leaves are triangular in shape but more rounded at the base than Silver Birch leaves. Leaf stalks are downy, as opposed to hairless on Silver Birch. Downy Birch is monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers (catkins) are found on the same tree. Male catkins are long and yellow-brown in colour, and hang in groups of two to four at the tips of shoots, like lambs' tails. Female catkins are smaller, short, bright green and erect. Downy Birch shoots are covered in small downy hairs.

    Photo ID?

    Damp woodland. Downy Birch is often found on damper soils than Silver Birch, and can even tolerate waterlogged or peaty conditions.

    When to see it

    Catkins in April and May.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 26 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map