The Genus Betula

A Taxonomic Revision of Birches

Kenneth Ashburner and Hugh A. McAllister

The Genus Betula

Kenneth Ashburner and Hugh A. McAllister

Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Edited by Martyn Rix and with Drawings by Andrew Brown and Paintings by Josephine Hague
300 pages | 100 color plates | 7 x 9 1/2
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781842461419 Published July 2013 For sale in Canada, Mexico, and the USA only
The stunning Betula, or birch trees, are notoriously difficult to identify despite being one of the major contributors to the beautiful fall foliage famous in eastern North America. With many wrongly named birches appearing in nurseries and arboreta, this new book, the first ever written on the genus, is an important and much-needed work.

The Genus Betula covers all known birches found in North America, Europe, and Asia, along with keys for accurate identification. Chapters include a look at the breeding, cultivation, conservation, and morphology of all species, including several little-known species wonderful for garden and landscape use. The authors present previously unpublished data on recent molecular work and fossils, providing a cytotaxonomic and phylogeographic revision of the Betula genus. The book is accompanied by exquisite specimens of botanical art, including full-color paintings by Josephine Hague, making it a valuable tool for arboriculturists as well as professional and amateur gardeners.
List of Paintings
New Taxa and Combinations
      Lawrence Banks
      Hugh McAllister
List of Photographers

1. Introduction
    The Appeal of birches
    Birches in the wild
    The genus Betula
    Regeneration and life cycle
    Chromosome numbers in Betula
    Molecular phylogenetics
    Phylogeography and the fossil history of Betula
2. Breeding Systems and Hybridisation
    Self-incompatibility, self-compatibility and apomixis
    Hybrids and hydridisation in Betula
3. Cultivation
    Buying a birch—attractive features
    Pests and diseases
4. Conservation
    Conservation priorities for Betula
    The role of Botanic Gardens in conservation
5. Morphology of Betula
6. Identification and Naming of Birches
7. Taxonomic Treatment

    Key to the species of Betula
    Note on the choice of characters used in the key
    Subgenus Nipponbetula
        Section Nipponbetula (Species 1)
    Subgenus Asperae
        Section Asperae
            Subsection Asperae (Species 2–9)
            Subsection Chinenses (Species 10–12)
        Section Lentae (Species 13–19)
    Subgenus Acuminatae
        Section Acuminatae (Species 20–23)
    Subgenus Betula
        Section Dahuricae (Species 24–26)
        Section Costatae (Species 27–30)
        Section Betula (Species 31–39)
        Section Apterocaryon (Species 40–46)
8. Cultivars
      Compiled by Paul Bartlett
References and Bibliography
Index of Scientific Names
Index of Common Names
Index of Cultivar Names and Hybrids
Review Quotes
Current Books on Gardening & Botany

"This detailed account is accessible, aimed not only at scholars and students, but those intellectually curious about these important woody plants."

Garden Design Journal
"’Long-awaited’. . .much-needed as a contemporary review of the whole genus Betula, from both botanical and horticultural perspectives.
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
"On first opening this book I thought I would have a quick flick through to get a feel of it, before I read it. But I found myself stopping and reading parts, getting engrossed and wanting to read some more. . . . With decades of research behind it, taken from herbarium specimens, material from wild trees and arboreta collections, this is a book brimming with information and science-based facts."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. RSS Feed