River Birch or Himalayan Birch???
I was happy to meet Ollie who happened to be walking her dog at the same time. I explained that I was ‘following’ this tree, but was still unsure as to which species it was. She said that she was the one who had trimmed the ivy off the tree. “I know it’s a birch,” she says, “try looking up Himalayan birch” (betula utilis Jacquemontii)
I looked it up, but the Himalayan birch leaf is squarer at the base, not so wedge-shaped.
According to Washington State University, “Himalayan birch is the most widely grown of the birch species in the Pacific Northwest and is greatly prized for its distinctive white bark which makes it a welcome addition during the darker days of winter.“
Logically, since the Himalayan birch is more prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, it follows that this is a Himalayan birch…but of all the Himalayan leaves that are shown on Google images, most of them are “square” at the base, and while the River Birch is native to the southeastern United States, it is tolerant in other climates too as long as it can grow in moist acidic soils. Since it was planted possibly over 40 years ago, this area was getting about 65 inches of rain a year then. It would have been moist enough for a River Birch. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂
Speaking of leaves…
According to SF Gate, “River birch also is valuable as a source of erosion control and is used to reclaim areas with high soil acid caused by mining. Wildlife, such as birds and rodents, eat its seeds, and deer eat its twigs and foliage. Ruby-throated hummingbirds drink its sap.”
Any birch tree experts out there?