Common Name: Japanese white birch, Asian white birch

Scientific Name: 
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Species: B. platyphylla

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 30 to 40 ft
Width: 15 to 25 ft

Common Characteristics: ​

Japanese white birch, also known as Asian white birch, is a medium to large size tree that typically reaches about 30-40 feet at maturity with a rounded or columnar form. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, ovate in shape, glabrous, and have toothed margins. They are yellowish-green in color with no notable fall color. The flowers are monoecious and are in catkins that appear in the early spring. The green female flowers are in 1.25 inch long upright catkins. The yellowish-brown male flowers are in about 3 inch long drooping catkins. The female flowers produce fruits that look like cones and they contain small winged seeds. The bark is white in color, smooth, and exfoliating.

Where It Grows:

Japanese white birch prefers full sun to partial shade, and medium to wet, well-drained, loamy, sandy, or clay soils. It grows best in cool climates and consistently moist soil. The drought tolerance of Japanese white birch is poor. 

How It's Used:

Japanese white birch is a good landscape tree in cool northern climates. 

Ecosystem Services:

Japanese white birch will attract birds.

Where It Is Native To:

Japanese white birch is native to Manchuria, Korea, and Japan. 


Japanese white birch is susceptible to aphids, armillaria, birch leaf miner, birch skeletonizer and dieback. Japanese white birch has some resistance to the bronze birch borer, which typically affect weak birches. It also has resistance to verticillium. 


Missouri Botanical Garden

Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly SelecTree