- Deciduous tree, fast growing, to about 45 ft (14 m) tall under cultivation, 100 ft (30 m) in its native habitat, open crown, twigs dark red-brown, bark thin, gray and white, tinted with orange, peeling somewhat. Leaves alternate, simple, broadly cordate-ovate, 8-14 cm long, apex acute, margin doubly serrate, 7-11 paired veins, vein tips protruding past the margin, dense pubescence on young leaves, dark green above and paler below; fall color gold-yellow. Female catkins cylindrical, 6 cm long, male catkins about 11 cm long, 2-4 together.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 Native to northern Japan. According to Jacobson (1996, p. 86) many of the trees sold as Monarch Birch are in fact "pretenders", specifically B. ermanii and B. platyphylla.
- maximowicziana: after Carl Johann Maximowicz (1827-1891), Russian botanist, curator of the botanical gardens in St. Petersburg. He traveled extensively in Mongolia and Japan, where he discovered this tree.