Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Betula pendula
Silver birch

Tag -
54 deg 35.001N
5 deg 55.966W
Silver birch (Betula pendula) is native to almost all of the British Isles, although commoner in the south, preferring drier and acid soils. The leaves are toothed with large and small teeth, taper to a sharp point and are without hairs. These characters distinguish the silver birch from the downy birch ( Betula pubescens) which has a more rounded tip to the leaf and hairy leaves. The female catkins of silver birch stick up from the hanging branches while the male catkins hang down. There are several fine specimens in Belfast Botanic Gardens, one close to the Botanic Avenue gate (photographed here) and another by the gate into the garden works yard.
Betula pendula in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Betula pendula leaf detail

Silver birch in Belfast Botanic Gardens Leaf of silver birch

Female catkin of Betula pendula

Betula pendula male catkin detail

Female catkin of silver birch, detail inset Male catkin of silver birch, detail inset

Silvery bark of Betula pendula

Leaf shape of Betula pubescens

Typical silvery bark of mature silver birch, Belfast Botanic Gardens The more rounded leaf of Betula pubescens for comparison

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2010. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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