Betula papyrifera var. kenaica

Kenaica birch

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree



Skill level


photo by Fiona Lea, copyright GAP Photos (132360)

Plant details

Native to one of the coldest parts of Alaska, this birch tree can be grown in very exposed positions and has no fear of cold weather and harsh temperatures. It is a columnar tree which grows to a good height for a medium-sized garden without taking up too much space. In the late spring it produces mid-green leaves and small green catkins, but it's the bright white bark of this tree which is its main attraction. Its bare stems and papery bark make it a particular focal point for a garden in winter.

Genus: Betula

Species: papyrifera var. kenaica

Plant type: Deciduous tree

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Reader reviews


I've had a specimen of this tree for about 20 years in a shaded location in heavy, acid clay soil, next to a hedge and a ditch. It has thrived more than any other birch I've had. It's attractive both for in both leaf and bark, and I would recommend it as an alternative to Betula populus or even Jacquemonti, which I find a bit stark in its whiteness, whereas kenaica's bark is warmer coloured.

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