Botanical Name: Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’
Alternate Names: White-Barked Himalayan Birch, Whitebarked Himalyan Birch, Jacquemontii Himalayan Birch
The Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’) is found growing in the Himalayas and Western Nepal. It is named for Victor Jacquemont, a French naturalist. This tree has been grown in cultivation for its bright, eye-catching, white bark.
The Himalayan Birch is a medium sized, deciduous, fast growing tree, with an upright and open pyramidal form. This tree can be grown either as a standard or multi-trunked tree. It prefers moist or wet but well-drained rocky or sandy soil conditions.
It is a good specimen tree to use in wetter landscapes. It can be featured in rain gardens or close to ponds or streams. This tree can also be grouped and planted in stands to feature the beautiful bark.
The leaves are oval-shaped, 2-3 inches in length, and light green with double-serrated edges. Their fall color is golden yellow. In late spring, the Himalayan Birch produces separate male and female catkins on the same tree. The male flowers are yellow-brown, drooping catkins (3-5 inches long), and the female flowers are smaller, upright catkins (1.5 inches long). The female flowers then develop into small cones that contain many small winged seeds.
This birch cultivar can be susceptible to bronze birch borer, particularly when stressed in urban landscapes. It shouldn’t be planted in areas where the borer is active. It prefers cooler temperatures and should be planted where it can get some afternoon shade in hot locations. The Himalayan Birch also prefers that its roots stay cool and moist. This can be achieved by mulching around the base of the tree.