Silver Birch, European Weeping Birch, European White Birch, or Weeping Birch (Betula pendula, syn. B. verrucosa) is a widespread European birch, though in southern Europe it is only found at higher altitudes. Its range extends into southwest Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey and the Caucasus It is also found throughout much of Canada. The closely related Siberian Silver Birch (B. platyphylla) in northern Asia and Sichuan Birch (B. szechuanica) of central Asia are also treated as varieties of Silver Birch by some botanists, as B. pendula var. platyphylla and B. pendula var. szechuanica respectively (see birch classification).
Betula pendula is a medium deciduous tree, typically reaching 15 - 25 m tall, exceptionally up to 30 m, with a slender crown of arched branches with drooping branchlets. The bark is white, often with black diamond-shaped marks or larger patches at the base. The shoots are rough with small warts, and hairless, and the leaves 3 - 6 cm long, triangular with a broad base and pointed tip, and coarsely serrated margins. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, produced before the leaves in early spring, the small (1 - 2 mm) winged seeds ripening in late summer on 3 - 5 cm long catkins.
It is distinguished from the related Downy Birch (B. pubescens, the other common European birch) in having hairless, warty shoots (hairy, without warts in Downy Birch), and whiter bark often with scattered black fissures (greyer, less fissured, in Downy Birch). cultivation
It is often planted as a garden and ornamental tree, grown for its white bark and gracefully drooping shoots. In Scandinavia and other regions of northern Europe, it is grown for forestry. Successful birch cultivation requires a climate cool enough for at least the occasional winter snowfall. Shallow rooted they require water during dry periods, growing best in full Sun or dappled shade. They require deep, moist, fertile soil.