20. Monarch Birch

Monarch Birch

Betula maximowicziana Regel

Native range includes the Kurile Islands in the Russian Far East and Hokkaido and Honshu in Japan

  • Monarch Birch can reach up to 35 metres in height but this is rare in the UK and it usually grows to a more modest height of between 15-20 metres.
  • This tree is a champion tree in the British Isles
  • Monarch Birch is fast growing and has a dark brown trunk when young, maturing into greyish tinges.
  • The large heart shaped leaves turn clear yellow in the autumn. It retains a pyramidal shape when young but this broadens at maturity.
  • The leaves are the biggest of all the Birch family, sometimes attaining over 12cm in length.
  • The name ‘maximowicziana’ honours Carl Johann Maximovich (Karl Maximovich). He was a Russian botanist who introduced many plants from the Far East into horticulture. He worked at the Saint Petersburg Botanical Gardens and his name is also honoured in the tree, Kalopanax pictus var maximowiczii (Regel) Baker which is a synonym of Kalopanax septemlobus (tree 4 on the trail)

The tree in front of you is thought to be one of the largest in the United Kingdom, known as a Champion Tree. You can find more information about champion trees of Britainand Irelandat www.treeregister.org/champion-trees.shtml.

Bean, W.J., (1989), Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles(8th edn) John Murray London

Rushforth, K. (1999) Trees of Britain and Europe, Collins