Types of Birch Trees: A birch is a kind of thin-leaved deciduous hardwood tree in the family Betulaceae, along with alders, hazels, and hornbeams. It is closely linked to the Fagaceae beech-oak family.
Birch trees come in a variety of varieties, all distinguished by their distinctive white bark and horizontal patterns. Birches are actually divided into a few different subgenera, each of which has a number of species. There are many different birch cultivars to take into account, whether you want to know more about birch trees so you can recognize them on hikes or maybe you are thinking about planting one in your own backyard.
The fact that there are at least 50 different varieties of birch trees should not come as a surprise given how easily birches cross each other. Here is a list of some of the most well-known and typical types of birch trees, along with a description of how these magnificent trees are normally classified. Let’s begin!
The Different Types of Birch Trees
Subgenuses of Birch Trees
Although the birch or Betula genus is the subject of numerous schools of thought, birch trees are frequently divided into subgenera. Here are a few subgenus varieties that birch tree specialists have taken into consideration.
There’s a good likelihood that you observed a normal birch tree if you’ve ever recognized one by its white, flaking bark. The most prevalent birch species, such as silver and white birches, are included in the category of birch trees known simply as Betula.
Dwarf birches, which belong to the Chamaebetula subgenus, are typically shorter than 20 feet in height. In actuality, the majority of dwarf birches are shrubs with shaggy deciduous leaves. Furthermore, it is simple to recognize dwarf birch tree varieties because most of their names contain the word “dwarf.”
Wintergreen Oil Birches
Did you know that certain birch species can generate wintergreen oil? Wintergreen oil birches are notable for their distinctly minty flavor and are professionally grown for delicacies with a mint flavor. They are also valuable for their lumber and oil, and even used as ornaments. Wintergreen oil birches, such as yellow and sweet birches, are among the most well-liked types of birch.
Most Popular and Common Types of Birch Tree
Here’s a list of some of the most prevalent and notable birch tree varieties, which are also quickly expanding and significant to many animal species, such as moths or butterflies!
Paper birches, commonly known as paperbarks due to their distinctive trunks and bark, are scientifically known as Betula papyrifera. The paper birch enjoys chilly environments and thrives in hardiness zones 5 and below. The average lifespan of these birch trees in warm climates is 30 to 50 years.
The distinctively textured trunks of silver birches, which are categorized as Betula pendula, also give them the names European white birch, weeping birch, and warty birch. These specific birches are common around the world and favor higher elevations and sunny areas. Furthermore, Finland’s national tree is a birch.
River birch trees are distinct from other birches because they can grow to be up to 100 feet tall and have many trunks. Betula nigra, sometimes known as black birches or water birches, is a native of North America and, as its name suggests, grows around streams. In contrast to most other birches, it also has darker bark.
The Himalayan birch tree, Betula utilis, which means literally “useful birch,” has a renowned past. Its bark still has a similar utility today as it did in antiquity when it served as paper for writing. This birch tree is indigenous to the Himalayas, as its name suggests, and has been located flourishing at elevations of up to 15,000 feet!
Chinese Red Birch
Betula albosinensis is a wonderful attractive birch tree to take into consideration, and it has several varieties. This birch tree is native to China and is commonly referred to as the Chinese red birch. It is not more than 90 feet tall. Additionally, it produces bark that is cream and reddish in color and stripes horizontally like other well-known birch species.
Yellow birch trees are grown professionally for their timber and are also referred to as swamp or golden birches. This particular birch type prefers chilly conditions, so if you live in hardiness zones 3 through 7, you might think about planting it. Additionally, this birch tree variety has a long lifespan and attractive gray shaggy bark.
Bog birch is a different type of dwarf birch that is noteworthy. Since it only grows to a height of 10 to 15 feet, this birch tree is known as Betula pumila. It grows all over the country, near streams, and thrives in humid areas like the Pacific Northwest because it is native to North America.
Downy birches, commonly referred to as European white birches, are distinct from silver birch trees. The scientific name for downy birches is Betula pubescens, and despite their similar resemblance, they exhibit some growth variances. Due to its ability to flourish in northern climates where other trees cannot, it is a vital tree for many insect and animal species.
The sweet birch is widely grown and frequently harvested for its sap and wintergreen oil. It is a particularly huge and hefty species of birch that is used to make sap as well as timber. Sweet birches can live for more than 300 years and are thriving on the east coast.
Types of Birch Trees: Conclusion
Whatever species you decide on, knowing how to plant a tree correctly is essential to giving it the best chance of success. Most birch trees will grow if planted in moist soil in a location that provides some little shelter from the scorching afternoon sun. While we cannot control the weather, we can try to position the trees in the greatest possible growing environments. Much beneath the tree canopy will aid in moisture retention and provide birch trees the attention they require.
The majority of birch trees thrive in full light and moist soil. If a big tree is planted too close to your house, its roots may eventually find their way to your plumbing. Though they are not difficult to grow, these lovely trees should be an option for your landscape, so don’t let that discourage you. Birches are trees that develop swiftly and can help your yard right away.