It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, typically reaching 15-25 m tall (exceptionally up to 39 m), with a slender trunk usually under 40 cm diameter (exceptionally to 1 m diameter), and a crown of arched branches with drooping branchlets. The bark is white, often with black diamond-shaped marks or larger patches, particularly at the base. The shoots are rough with small warts, and hairless, and the leaves 3-7 cm long, triangular with a broad base and pointed tip, and coarsely double-toothed serrated margins.
The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, produced before the leaves in early spring, the small (1-2 mm) winged seeds ripening in late summer on pendulous, cylindrical catkins 2-4 cm long and 7 mm broad.
Silver Birches often form natural woodlands, at home on dry, light soils throughout Britain. Even though it may appear "fragile" it's a very resilient species, one of the most hardy, and along with the Rowan or Mountin Ash as it is sometimes called, will grow higher up altitude than any other deciduous trees in Britain.