Trees with Ornamental Bark

Broussonetia papyrifera (syn. Morus papyrifera) – Paper Mulberry is not a common tree here, but is more widely grown in Asia where it is native. The foliage is quite variable with a mix of simple and lobed leaves, particularly on young plants. The striking bark – pale green overlaid with chocolate brown streaks – is used for making paper. Grows 20-25′ tall and wide. Hardy to zone 7.

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ (syn. ‘Senkaki’) – An amazing cultivar of Japanese Maple with deep coral-red new shoots and juvenile bark, that intensifies in winter. Coral Bark Maple needs near perfect drainage, so definitely avoid wet soils. The elegant leaves emerge a pale orange-yellow, mature green and return to yellow in fall. Grows 20′ tall and 15′ wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Betula utilis var jacquemontii – Himalayan White Birch is quite a large species with coarse green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. The mature bark is pure white which peels to reveal a creamy-yellow layer below, with the contrast of the two making for a beautiful display. This birch grows 50-60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Arbutus menziesii – This west coast native is incredibly difficult to grow in the average garden, as it seems to prefer the mild coastal band near the ocean. That said, Pacific Madrone trees are truly spectacular with their glossy evergreen leaves, white heather-like blooms and red fruits. The exfoliating bark is the highlight, with hues of reddish-brown, yellow, tan, ochre and green. Grows 30 to 50 feet tall and is hardy to zone 7.

Betula costata (syn. Betula ermanii ‘Grayswood Hill’) – The Korean Mountain Birch is a bit of a rarity here, but that just makes it more of a collector’s item. The pure white bark peels to reveal a tan to mahogany-red reverse, making for a showy two-toned effect. The simple green leaves turn a brilliant yellow in fall. Grows 50′ tall and 25-35′ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

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