Trees to look for in August — Birch Tree

Birch Tree

Where to look

Silver birch grows in gardens, dry woodlands, downs and heaths. Downy birch tends to grow on damper soils than silver birch and can even tolerate peat bogs and clay.


There are two main native British species of birch tree – Silver Birch (Betula pendula) and Downy Birch (Betula pubescens). They are wind pollinated and have separate male and female flowers (catkins) on the same branch. Male catkins develop during the autumn and are covered by reddish brown scales, while female catkins are held upright on the twigs and are made up of overlapping green scales. Fertilised female catkins look a little like a cone and slowly break up in autumn to release wind dispersed winged fruit. The fruit and seeds are tiny (about 2 mm) and are produced in huge quantities!
It can be tricky to tell the difference between the types of birch as they will easily breed with each other (hybridise). The main way of telling them apart is by their bark. Silver birch has whiter, more papery bark than downy birch, which varies from silver-grey to brown. On old silver birch trees, knobbly black bark replaces the white bark at the base of the trunk. Silver birches have weeping (hanging) smooth twigs while those of downy birch are covered with short fine hairs.

For more info see


“In our garden.”
“Birch tree in the garden.”
“In our garden at home”
Robin L
“Saw these beauties by the Clothiers”

Where we've found Birch Trees

Birch Tree spottings journal (9 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
31 Jan 2024 Stroud Valleys Project
4 Oct 2022 Stroud Stroud Valleys Project
13 Oct 2021 Stroud Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project
27 Dec 2020 Tewkesbury Shahnaz Wright Family In our garden.
27 Dec 2020 Tewkesbury Graham Wright Family Birch tree in the garden.
27 Dec 2020 Tewkesbury Shurjo Wright Family In our garden at home
3 Sep 2020 Stroud Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project
16 Jul 2020 stroud valley school Ella The Weaver's
2 Mar 2020 Bath Road Robin L Leafgatherers Saw these beauties by the Clothiers


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