BETULA continued
last updated 17/12/2017

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Bhutan Sienna'
Originating from seed from West Bhutan, this makes a very statuesque tree. The bark colour evolves wonderfully as the tree develops. Initially it is very dark, but as the outer layers peel away, they reveal a misty bloom covered under- layer that appears flushed with shades of lilac. Such a distinctive effect yet so hard to describe. It typically produces a strong, dominant leader from which a symmetrically branched head develops. 
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis  subsp. utilis 'Buddha'
This was originally colelcted in Nepal  under the colelction number SCH 2168 and named 'Buddha' by Tony Schilling who was part of that expedition. It is perhaps puzzling that it is classified here rather than under the subspecies jacquemontii, whose characteristics it seems at first glance to share. A coppery brown young outer layer that is marked with conspicous white lenticels peels away to reveal perfect bright white shiny bark that is given texture by the horizontal white lenticels. The leaves are larger and more heavily textured than is typical for the species.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Chris Lane'
This is a wonderful recent selection of Chinese origin. As the tree matures, the burnt orange peeling bark appears semi-translucent, revealing a richly coloured base layer of dark purplish red-brown that is heavily striped with horizontal white lenticels and painted with a haze of whitish betulin. It has an unusual habit, with the rather horizontal branch structure giving it an open and airy feel. All the better to admire the incredible bark!
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Cobhay Amber'
Our own selection from wild collected seed. Unfortunately due to muddlement prior to us receiving it, I don't know the provenance of the seed. Nevertheless, this is an attractive and vigorous clone. Although the trunk turns white in time, the young bark developed wonderful amber hues when young. It is also notable for yellow autumn colour that almost rivals that of B. ermanii and certainly surpasses the other utilis in our collection.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Cobhay Sentinel'
From the same batch of seed as 'Cobhay Amber', this has a fabulous slender yet vigorous, upright habit.
See it in our Winter Garden. 

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Dark-Ness'
This is a splendid tree, selected at Ness Botanic Gardens in the year 2000 from seed collected in Bhutan under the collection number S&L5540. The dark, shiny bark is punctuated by conspicuous horizontal white lenticels. It develops a tidy upright habit and the comparatively small leaves add to its sense of elegance.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Edinburgh'
There is doubt as to the precise taxonomic classification of this one, but it is a wonderful form and a favourite of ours. From Edinburgh Botanic garden, its habit is vigorous, whilst being tidily and sturdily upright without being fastigiate. The rich chestnut young outer bark peels to reveal the gleaming creamy-white layers beneath. This happens first on the trunk, with the side branches taking some time to follow suit. Thus the result is a very distinctive two-tone effect. 
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Forest Blush'
This has previously been classified as a selection of B. ermanii, but visually it doesn't sit completely perfectly with either species, which accounts for the confusion. Renowned plant hunter George Forrest originally introduced this pretty small tree (selected from his Forrest 19505 collection from Yunnan, China) which develops a satiny creamy white bark, flushed with pink. The leaves are very glossy and noticeably ribbed, whilst showy catkins are freely produced in spring. Free branching from low, and considerably more compact than most, this is a really distinctive and attractive selection. Superb yellow autumn colour adds to its attractions, particularly since it holds its leave much longer into the autumn than any other birch we have. Interestingly, it also comes into leaf later than the others too.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Mt Luoji'
Collected by Lord Howick from Mt Luoji in Sichuan, China under the collection number H & M 1480, this is another gorgeous clone. The paper thin young outer bark peels away to reveal an underlayer of deep purple that is lightened by a covering of white bloom.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Nepalese Orange'
Roy Lancaster was part of the expedition that collected the seed in 1971 (under the collection number BL&M 100) from which this one was more recently selected. It is very distinctive, with bright coppery orange bark that contrasts superbly with the under-bark that it peels to reveal. Covered in a soft bloom, this initially appears almost grey in colour. This can be a vigorous tree, branching freely to achieve a multi-stemmed habit if desired, with an open structure.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Parkwood'
Previously classified under B. utilis var. prattii, with the recent nomenclature revision, that subdivision has disappeared. Named at Hergest Croft, Herefordshire, the origin of this one is unknown. It is handsome tree with very dark, glossy young bark that peels to reveal a dark layer softened by white bloom. 
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Sichuan Red'
This is such a variable species. This one was selected from seed collected under the collection number SICH 667 in Sichuan, China. The bark has very little bloom, making it shiny, almost like a cherry bark. A dark brown base colour is overlaid with oranges and reds.
See it in our Winter Garden.

BETULA utilis subsp. utilis 'Wakehurst Place Chocolate'    
With its rich chocolate coloured bark, this is the darkest of the group. As the name suggests it was selected at Wakehurst Place from trees propagated and donated from Westonbirt's Forrest collection (under Forrest 15381) which were planted in 1924. The wonderful bark colour starts to become visible at an early age, and the trees are potentially vigorous and upright in habit. I love the contrasts that can be created with all these different bark colours, making the Winter Garden such an exciting project. 
See it in our Winter Garden.

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