These are large (30-50'), fast growing deciduous trees with an oval to pyramidal habit with upright spreading laterals and weeping minor branches giving it a very nice soft shape. Sensational tree, love the weeping habit, the drooping branchlets from the main laterals. Generally looks best in groves. You may recognize this on on Mission Blvd. You might run into a "clump birch" which could any birch species but has 3 individual trees growing in the same pot.
You can see the form more easily in winter. And, its very clear that most people plant them in groves.
Notice the small lateral branches are seriously weeping while the strong laterals are more upright.
Many cultivars available. 'Dalecarlica' is the cutleaf birch which I will cover later. 'Youngii' is a popular weeping cultivar. This one is in Capitola.
There are other birch trees here, from what I have seen, in decreasing popularity, B. jacqumontii, B. nigra, B. pendula 'Dalecarlica', B. papyrifera.
Misidentification: Other birches perhaps, the B. jacquemontii looks pretty similar but the young twigs are hairy and the buds are short rather than long. B. papyrifera is pretty similar but the leaves are not generally rhomboid nor does the tree have the weeping habit seen with B. pendula. I dont recall where this image came from, but you can see some of the typical birch leaf shapes.
the one on Mission is pretty nice, and just a block away towards downtown you can find a grove of cutleaf birches as well as a jacquemontii (white bark birch) on the other side of the street.