Betula ermanii (eastern and north-eastern Asia)
Habit: Medium-size tree, 15-20 m tall and 6 to max. 10 m wide; slender to broadly conical; initially compact, gradually loosening; specimen with several stems are especially conspicuous; slow-growing, 25-45 cm a year.
Flowers: Numerous catkins, greenish yellow; April before leaves shoot.
Leaves: Cordate, green, notable bright yellow in autumn.
Stem: White to cream.
Roots: Shallow roots with dense root system.
Demands: Sun; prefers cool or even cold areas, frost hardy; avoids hot-dry areas; likes high humidity; wind resistant.
Soil: Moderately dry to damp; acidic to slightly alkaline, well drained, humic or sandy-loamy substrates.
Native habitat: The golden birch occurs in its eastern Siberian habitat in a harsh, yet attractive birch/conifer combination. Here, its main partners – species of Larix and Pinus, and above all Pinus sylvestris, Pinus cembra and Pinus pumila – are its equals. The birch is accompanied by numerous evergreens, especially by Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Calluna vulgaris, Empetrum nigrum, Rhododendron kamtschticum, etc. or even by Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Others are willows such as Salix lanata, Salix sachalinensis or dwarf willows. The number of perennials as underplanting are surprising: Aconitum, Aruncus, Filipendula, Geranium, Hemerocallis minor and numerous species of rimula. Grasses such as Carex, Festuca and Molinia caerulea.
Hardiness: Zone 5a