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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Betula jacquemontii - Himalayan Birch

The Himalayan Birch trees are medium sized (30-40'), deciduous, pyramidal to oval shaped trees with upright branching. The fall color is not great, especially around here. The real beauty is the bark, which is more easily seen in winter but summer it still looks great. 
This tree is often the center of many cold climate winter gardens. We don't have winter but they are still really nice looking trees. 

Foliage is alternate, simple, ovate, 2-3" long, dark green above and supposedly glandular below, but usually not in my experience. Margins are singlely or double-serrated. Look for 7-9 pairs of veins with tufts of hairs in the viens. The glands are usually on B. utilis which this plant is often included in as a botanical variety, B. utilis jacquemontii.

Stems are light brown, slightly hairy and slightly glandular. The buds are lighter brown than B. papyrifera and seem to be more appressed against the stems.

Bark, well, that why we plant them. Almost pure white. Notable horizontal bands of lenticels. The new bark shows a beautiful pinkish color.

Flowers are borne in catkins in separate male and female inflorescences. Males over winter exposed to the elements.

Here are 2 male catkins elongating.

These are fertilized females.

Its really about the bark. These are great specimens planted in Gilroy at Headstart Nursery.

Misidentification: Other birch trees, Especially B. papryfera. Betula pendula bark turns black at the base much sooner and the leaves are very different.

212 Agusta has 7-9 trees along the street that look very nice.

725 Gilroy

Live Oak
640 Cambria Ln.

Santa Cruz
Along Pacific in the medium in front of the Catalyst.

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