State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Betula humilis Schrank

  • Chamaebetula humilis (Schrank) Opiz
  • Betula fruticans Pall., nom. nud.
  • Betula kamtschatica H. Buek
  • Betula myrsinoides Tausch
  • Betula oycowiensis Rchb., nom. illeg.
  • Betula palustris Rupr.
Vernacular Name
Shrubby Birch
Conservation status
IUCN: LC; RDBUkr: Вразливі
Value of species
This species is strictly protected in Poland, where four subpopulations are under constant protection.
Occurrence: Au, Bt, By, †Cz, Ge, He, Po, Rf(C, E, N, NW, S), Rm, Uk(U) (EuroMed, 2018). This species has a very wide distribution from Germany across to eastern Siberia and Korea. This species has a scattered distribution in Russia. In the Leningrad region this species occurs in the southwest in the basin of the river Luga and on the Izhora Hills in Kingisepp, Lomonosov, Volosovo, Gatchina, Slantzy and Luga districts. There are also isolated localities near Staraya Ladoga (Volkhov district) and on the rivers Chagoda and Lid in Boksitogorsk district. Outside of Russia this species occurs in Belarus, the Baltic region, the Ukraine, central Europe and northern Mongolia. The species have an ovate leaves that are 1.2–3.5 centimetres (0.47–1.38 in) long and is related to Betula fruticosa. Population seems to have declined steadily over past centuries, with the advance of cultivation and drainage, perhaps combined with competition from Salix species which respond more positively to eutrophication. Although assessments do not always align between references, multiple national and regional red lists note the rarity of this species within the country (countries) of question. This species is reported to be rare in western Europe, only reported from a few locations in Germany south of Munich and further north in eastern Germany. This species is listed as Extinct in the Czech Republic, where it has not been found for 25-50 years and it is thought very unlikely that this species will be discovered again in this country in future. This species is listed in the 'List of Rare, Threatened and endemic plants for the countries of Europe' under the following categories; Europe (V): Austria (R), Czechoslovakia (Ex), Germany (V), Poland, Romania (V) and Switzerland (E). This species also listed as scarce and threatened in Poland, where it appears to be absent from formerly recorded sites. The species is also listed as Critically Endangered for the Entire Carpathians, Extinct in Poland and Endangered in Romania. The species is under strict protection in Romania. The Red Data book of Nature of the Leningrad Region lists this species as Rare. The species is also listed as Vulnerable in the Republic of Karelia in the Red Data Book of East Fennoscandia. This species is a relict deciduous shrub, growing up to three metres in height. It is distributed from the hill to the montane zone. It is found growing on open raised bogs and pine moors, acid valley bogs, drained fens, transitional mires, in open birch woods, shrubby pastures and alder thickets. It prefers wet ground in forests and the edges of lakes. It is associated with moss, flush brushwood and meadow phytocoenoses. It prefers slightly acidic peaty soil. Although occurring mostly on wet ground in the wild, this species grows successfully in even quite dry garden conditions in normal soil. Its restriction to wet soils in the wild may therefore be because of low competitive ability in more favourable conditions.
Book reference
  • Літопис природи. Природний заповідник «Розточчя». 2018, т.32. – Івано-Франкове, 2019. – 000 с.
  • Alexander KUZYARIN, Dr, e-mail:

Taxonomic branch