Bethlehem Wood at Wakehurst
The birches in Bethlehem Wood range from Britain’s common white-trunked silver birch (Betula pendula) through to species from China and North America. In early spring the ground is coloured yellow with primroses, then in May, the bluebells come into bloom.
A unique collection
Wakehurst’s birches are subdivided into Asian, European and American continental zones that demonstrate the genus’ vast geographic range. Specimens include the silver birch (Betula pendula), the red-brown-trunked Betula albo-sinensis, and a rare North American tree, the Virginia round-leafed birch (Betula uber).
The birch collection in Bethlehem Wood is the longest established and most comprehensive of Wakehurst’s four National Plant Collections. It is regarded by several experts as being the most comprehensive in cultivation anywhere. In 1999 it was awarded scientific status by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG), now the National Plant Collections.
Bringing together as many birch trees as possible provides the opportunity to observe the taxonomy, ornamental merit and cultivation requirements of the genus. The collection already contains several named forms of Betula utilis (e.g. Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Sauwala White’ and ‘Grayswood Ghost’) and several of hybrid origin that have Betula utilis in their parentage (e.g. Betula ‘Inverleith’ and Betula ‘Jermyns’).
Dedicate a woodland area
Dedicating a woodland area will fund Kew's work in horticulture, and these woodland areas are available for a donation of £1000.
Your donation will be recorded with your personal dedication on the Commemorative Register at Wakehurst, located in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, and you will receive a certificate thanking you for your gift.
Make a dedication today
- download our Commemorative Giving Donation form, complete and return it
- or call 020 8332 3238 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) to make a dedication by card