Height: up to 30m high
Winter buds: shiny green (mature), brown (young), small and pointed.
Leaves: simple, alternating along stem, flat base and pointed tip, overall triangular shape, doubly toothed.
Flowers: male catkins in groups of 2-4 at tip of twig and female catkins at base of leaf which are more erect.
Fruit: catkin with winged papery seeds.
Distribution: often planted in gardens and parks.
Not to be confused with
Downy birch is a similar looking tree. However it can be distinguished from silver birch by its leaves, which have equal sized teeth, and its seeds, which have narrower wings than silver birch. The branches of downy birch are more erect than the pendulous silver birch. The two species also hybridise. (ATStockFoto/Alamy)