The trees at Keele

We have over 150 species of tree on campus, not counting the 240 species and varieties of Flowering Cherry! Amongst them are many of our common native species as well as some more unusual ones. So, if you can't tell a Beech from a Birch or just want to know a bit more about them then read on!

Downy Birch Betula pubescens

Downy Birch Origin: This is a native tree that is common on badly-drained heaths and the damper, peaty soils of the north and west. It is very similar to the Silver Birch and the two do hybridise.

Tree: in shape, it tends to be a smaller, rounder tree with more upright branches; never pendulous like Silver Birch. The bark red-brown at first, becoming smooth greyish-white; never with the black diamonds of Silver Birch at the base.

The leaves are more rounded in shape than Silver Birch and the base of the leaf is more or less rounded or heart-shaped; the edges are single-toothed or irregularly double-toothed (but the tips do not curve towards the tip of the leaf as they do in Silver Birch). Unlike Silver Birch, the veins on the underside of the leaf and the young shoots are hairy and there are no warts (small raised pimples) on the twigs. It also seems to hold on to its leaves longer.

Fruits: To look at, the fruits of the two species are similar, being a long catkin which breaks up in the autumn to release masses of wind-blown seed. However, the individual scales of the catkin are distinctive.

Location : scattered around campus.