A shrub 6 to 10 ft high; lower branches decumbent or prostrate; branchlets thickly clothed the first season with forward-pointing, somewhat appressed, pale brown hairs, glabrous and slightly warted the second season. Stipules triangular-ovate, silky. Leaves ovate, pointed, rounded or wedge-shaped at the base, irregularly, often doubly, toothed; 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. long, 3⁄8 to 1 in. wide; veins deeply sunken and forming parallel grooves above, prominent beneath, in twelve to twenty-two pairs; dark green, becoming glabrous except on the hairy veins above, clothed beneath with long, brown, silky hairs, especially on the veins and midrib; leaf-stalk 1⁄12 to 1⁄8 in. long, silky. Female catkins, 3⁄4 in. long; scales three-lobed, 1⁄10 in. long, the central lobe twice or more than twice as long as the rounded side-lobes, ciliate. Nutlet 1⁄16 in. diameter, ovate-orbicular, the wing narrow, ciliate towards the end. Male catkins 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of W. China at altitudes of 7,000 to 9,000 ft. Introduced by Wilson in 1909, who describes it as often hanging down over cliffs. It is very distinct from other dwarf birches in its silky-hairy leaves with numerous veins.