Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Advancing the Conservation, Study, and Cultivation of the Flora of Asia

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Featured Plants

Betula albosinensis
This deciduous tree is most notable for its shiny, brownish-orange to red colored bark which exfoliates in papery flakes.  It can reach 30 meters in the wild and has glabrous, reddish brown branchlets with resinous glands.  The deep green, glossy leaves are simple, alternate and doubly serrated, providing a vivid color contrast to the bark.  Inflorescences appear in May and June as 1-3 grouped racemes, followed by small (2-3 mm), ovate, winged nutlets on fruiting “cones”, 3-4 cm long, in July and August.

The Chinese Red Birch is well known for it’s bark, “...shining like burnished copper [that when peeled away] leaves behind it a creamy, glaucous bloom...” (Rogers, 1928).  It is native to north central China.

Culture is best in very well-drained soils with regular water, under full sun.  Bronze birch borer, leaf miners and aphids can be problematic in some areas and at certain times of year.  Prune when dormant (late January in mild-winter, non-freezing areas) to avoid sap bleed and pest introduction.  Also, avoid lawn plantings as all birches are greedy for water and nutrients.