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Betula ermanii - Erman’s birch



Erman’s birch is found over a large range in the northern parts of north-east Asia. It is very variable in form: the Japanese and Korean mountain form resembles that of the shrubby mountain birch (B. pubescens subsp. czerepanovii) found in northern Finland, while the Sakhalin Island form, for example, is that of an upright large tree. In places it forms large economically valuable forests, the wood being very hard.

For use in public landscaping the best specimens are small, multi-stemmed and twisted mountain forms, whose typical white to creamy attractive peeling bark makes them stand out. The species has long been grown in Finland but in small numbers, growing well as far north as Oulu, though this is hardly its northern limit as it grows to the tree line in its native habitat.

At Mustila, Erman’s birch has grown for decades on Pohjoisrinne (Northern slope) near the nursery fields, where there are several mid-sized trees with slightly twisted trunks, of unknown provenance. In a search for better forms, seedlings from several new provenances, e.g. from Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Magadan and Kamchatka, have been planted in recent years for trials on the Northern slope.