Betula davurica

Dahurian Birch, Asian Black Birch




  • native to northern China, Korea, Japan
  • zone 5

Habit and Form

  • 40' to 60' tall, deciduous
  • rounded canopy with spreading branches
  • single or multiple trunks
  • casts relatively light shade
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • alternate, simple leaves
  • 2" to 4" long, 1.5 to 2.5" wide, ovate shape
  • dark green and glabrous upper surface
  • dentate-serrate margins

Autumn Foliage

  • fairly uniform and showy yellow


  • blooms in April, but visible before bloom
  • monoecious: male and female catkins
  • not showy, but interesting


  • small nutlets borne in cylindrical catkins


  • very showy and interesting
  • similar to B. nigra bark
  • on younger branches exfoliates in thin curls
  • on older branches it puffs on the trunk in blocks resembling vermiculite
  • color is mixture of orange, silver, gray and brown


  • tolerant of dry, gravelly, unfertile soils
  • easy to grow
  • best in full sun
  • avoid high pH soil to prevent chlorosis

Landscape Use

  • specimen
  • lawn tree for smaller yards
  • for showy bark
  • increasing in popularity in the northeastern United States
  • plant singly or in small groupings


  • chlorosis on high pH soils
  • some feel the tree lacks vigor or is short-lived, although this is not a consensus opinion
  • rare, so may be hard to locate for purchase

ID Features

  • unique exfoliating bark
  • could be confused with B. nigra due to similar bark, but B. nigra has a wedged-shaped leaf base, while B. davurica has a more rounded leaf base.


  • easily grown from seed
  • stratification enhances germination


  • None

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.