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Betula chinensis Maxim.

Modern name

Betula chinensis Maxim.


B. exalata S. Moore

A deciduous shrub usually up to 10 ft high, occasionally a small tree 12 to 30 ft high; bark greyish, young shoots silky-hairy. Leaves ovate, pointed, rounded at the base, jaggedly toothed; 1 to 2 in. long, half to two-thirds as much wide; veins in seven to ten pairs; upper surface dull dark green, sprinkled with silky hairs; silky-hairy beneath, mostly on the veins; stalk 16 to 14 in. long, silky. Female catkins roundish oval, 12 to 34 in. long, the scales of which are lanceolate in main outline but with three forward-pointing, narrow, linear lobes, the side ones much the shorter, all edged with minute hairs.

Native of N. China, Korea, and Japan; introduced to Kew from the Arnold Arboretum in 1920. It is shrubby in growth, about 11 ft high at Kew after thirty-five years, and it is as a shrub that it was often noted in a wild state by Wilson, Purdom, and other collectors. But a plant raised from W. 10707 has obtained 20 × 112 ft in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden (1968). In addition to the neat, densely shrubby form, it is distinct on account of the very slender ciliate lobes of the scales of the seed-bearing catkins.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

The example at Kew mentioned still grows in the Birch Collection, but the Edinburgh specimen from Wilson’s seeds is dead. Young natural-source plants are now at Kew and in other collections.



Other species in the genus