WSU Clark County Extension

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Whitebarked Himalayan birch

Scientific name: Betula utilis Jacquemontii

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 7
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:40 ft
Width:20 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:April
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Himalayan birch is the most widely grown of the birch speices 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.

This is a deciduous tree that grows to an eventual height of 40’ and a width of 20’. It has pyramidal shape with an open branching structure. It bears simple, alternately arranged dark green leaves, which are wedge-shaped and slightly rounded over when viewed from above. The edges of the leaves are double serrated. In the fall the leaves turn a bright yellow before they are shed for the winter.

As the name implies, this tree has bright white bark on the trunks, and limbs. It peels from the trunk.

Himalayan birch does best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade. While it will grow faster (up to 18” per year) on well drained soils, it can tolerate wet sites. Managers of wetland restoration sites often use this species in their planting plans.
In a yard situation the shallow rooting nature limits foot traffic near the trunk.

For optimum growth it’s best to cover the area near the trunk with a thick layer of mulch or install an evergreen groundcover in order to protect and shade the roots.

This tree is susceptible to bronze birch borer, a wood boring beetle that will girdle the trunk. Aphids can be problem on the foliage. Excrement from aphid feeding can leave the ground sticky beneath this tree.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234