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Birches or Betula, are among the most attractive and common trees in the landscape and in gardens. Unfortunately, naming even the common white-barked birches can be difficult and many wrongly named trees can be found in nurseries and arboreta.
The Genus Betula is the first monograph published on this plant group. Accounts are given of all known birches found in Europe, Asia and North America, both white and brown barked, and a key for their identification. The extensive fossil record and recent molecular work are reviewed and, together with new data not previously published, used to provide information for a discussion of what can be deduced of the evolutionary relationships of the species and species groups. From the authors' experience of growing and propagating almost all species, accounts are given of the cultivation requirements and landscape use of Betula species.
This book was reissued in 2016 with minor additions.
The late Kenneth Asburner travelled widely in search of birches, to Japan, Korea, Russia, Siberia, the Himalayas, Canada and the USA and throughout Europe and Scandinavia. His specialist arboretum was awarded National Collection status for both wild origin birch and alder in 1994.
Hugh A. McAllister lectured in botany at Glasgow, Newcastle, and Liverpool Universities and was deputy director at the University of Liverpool Botanic Gardens at Ness. For over 30 years he has been growing and studying birches in co-operation with Kenneth Ashburner. He is the author of The Genus Sorbus.