Downy Birch

Betula pubescens


Downy Birch is a small, spindly tree with thin branches and papery bark. It is found on heathland, moorland and mountainsides, as well as on damp soils. In spring, the male catkins (or 'lamb's tails') of Downy Birch turn yellow and shed their pollen which is carried by the wind to the short, green female catkins. In winter, the fertilised catkins that have hung on the tree all summer, will break up into winged seeds, ready to disperse.

How to identify

Birches are easily recognised by their white, papery bark. Downy Birch is a more upright, less 'weeping', tree than Silver Birch. Its leaves are more rounded and grow on hairy stalks, hence the name 'Downy'.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland and moorland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. We are also working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Downy Birch
Latin name
Betula pubescens
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 25m
Conservation status