Birch seeds spilling from trees
Photo: Arne Ader
Some facts about both the silver birch and the downy birch: it is not easy to distinguish between them. You can find hybrids between them in nature, with characteristics from both species.
Roughly speaking the silver birch has hanging branches, the downy birch upright ones. The leaves of the silver birch are rhomboid-shaped, those of the downy birch more rounded. Silver birches grow on mineral soils, downy birches on peaty ground. In forests silver birches grow taller. Both species grow in reclaimed bog areas.
The most common tree species in our forests is pine, after that birch forests follow with 30%, then spruce. According to birch expert O. Henno 55% of birch woods are downy birch stands, and 45% silver birch woods.
Birch forest with white-tailed eagle in transition bog. Emajõe Suursoo