Betula maximowicziana – Monarch Birch (China, Japan)
Habit: Medium-size to large tree, 15-20 (30) m tall; 8-12 m wide; broadly conical, straight leader, branches reaching upwards, twigs not overhanging; fast-growing, initially 60-80 cm a year, later 30-45 cm.
Flowers: Exceptionally large male catkins, 8-12 cm long, greenish yellow; March to April.
Leaves: Largest leaf of all birch species; perfectly cordate, fresh green shoots, later pale to dark green; light yellow to golden yellow starting in September.
Stem: Only roughly white, more between light brown, grey-pink and pale copper.
Roots: Shallow to cordate roots, strong roots right at the surface.
Demands: Sun to shade; warm to cool, usually frost hardy; likes high humidity.
Soil: Dry to moist; lightly acidic to alkaline, sandy-loamy soil, well drained, growth stagnating on heavy soil.
Hardiness: Zone 5b