The Himalayan white birch is admired for its very white paper-like bark,considered whiter than even the European white birch. The bark is rich brown when the trees are young but turns white as the tree matures and provides year round interest in the garden. The dark green leaves are oblong, up to five inches long, doubly toothed, and turn buttery yellow in the fall. Light brown male catkins up to five inches long and short female catkins appear in the late spring to summer. The fruits ripen in the fall. The specific name, utilis, refers to the many uses of the tree. The bark has been used for paper for centuries and for such mundane things as packing, the wood in construction as well as for firewood, and the foliage for fodder. Deforestation is a problem in some areas.
Type: Deciduous tree
Outstanding Feature: White bark; buttery yellow leaves in fall
Growth Rate: Rapid
Bloom: Long pale brown male catkins up to five inches long and short female catkins are produced in late spring to summer.
Size: 60-75’ H x 30-50’ W
Light: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 5-7
Care: Remove dead or deformed limbs when needed.
Pests and Diseases: Rust, leafspot, mildew, sawflies, aphids
Propagation: Softwood cuttings; grafting
‘Doorenbos’ (Bark peels to reveal pale orange new bark)
‘Jermyns’ (6 ¾ “ male catkins)
‘Silver Shadow’ (Whitest of all)