(17) Silver Birch

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  • Species
    • Silver Birch
  • Botanical Name
    • Betula pendula
  • Location
    • St Mary's churchyard, Ridgeway gardens
    • Grid Reference: TQ 14878, 55537
    • Latitude, Longitude: 51.287395, -0.354037
    • What3Words: fills.type.basic
  • Identification
    • The silvery bark makes this tree easy to identify. It often flakes to reveal darker patches, and is deeply fissured low down on the tree. The tree is tall and narrow and the upper branches often droop as it ages. The Male catkins hang down whereas the female catkins are more erect. The leaves are small and triangular in shape and allow plenty of dappled light to penetrate. Look out for the beautiful spring greenery and the lovely yellow and orange colours of the leaves early in autumn.
  • About this species
    • Silver Birch trees are pioneer trees that quickly occupy clearings in woodland, but don’t tend to live to a great age. Birches are associated with the distinctive red-spotted Fly Agaric fungus, usually with an elf or fairy sitting on top in fairy tales.
    • Silver birch provides food and habitat for more than 300 insect species – the leaves attracting aphids which provide food for ladybirds and other species further up the food chain. The leaves are also a food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the angle-shades, buff tip, pebble hook-tip, and Kentish glory.
  • Local information
    • There are several large Silver Birch trees in the churchyard. Birch trees are invasive on sandy soil and due to the many heaths in the county, it has earned the name of the "Surrey weed". Look out for Birch trees in River Lane and Raymead Way.

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