The Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), is a medium sized tree that is similar to Silver Birch, except for a few characteristics. Firstly, the bark does not have diamond shaped blackish-grey spots on the trunk. Secondly, the twigs have small hairs on them, thirdly, the Downy Birch grows higher up, often on moors that have been planted with forestry and also the branches on Silver Birches usually droop whereas on Downy Birches they seldom hang downwards.
The Downy Birch though, often crosses with the Silver Birch producing hydrids which have characteristics of both trees which may add to confusion in identification.
Downy Birches grow up to 24 metres high, they are round-headed trees and the bark is usually a reddish or brown colour but are occasionaly silver. The leaves are shaped like that of a Silver Birch but instead of having ragged edges the leaves are more evenly sized and the base is triangular in shape.
This tree has many uses, in spring it exludes a sap which is very sugary and can be turned into wine, in Canada the bark of the tree was used to make canoes, and as firewood it gives off a very bright flame.