Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) seed origins from the Baltic countries, Finland and Russia were compared for survival, growth and stem quality, and the effect of latitudinal seed transfer distance examined in two provenance trials. The trials were located on moist upland forest soils at Tuusula (60°21’N) in southern Finland and at Viitasaari (63°11’N) in central Finland. The material consisted of 21 stand and single tree origins ranging from latitudes 54° to 63°N. Survival, height, dbh, relative stem taper, stem volume/ha and the proportion of trees with a stem defect (vertical branch or forked stem), were assessed when the trees were 22 years old. Significant differences were detected among the origins regarding all the measured traits in both trials. Southern Finnish origins produced the highest volume per unit area in central Finland, whereas Estonian and north Latvian stand seed origins, as well as the southern Finnish plus tree origins, were the most productive ones in southern Finland. The more southern the origin, the higher was the proportion of trees with a stem defect in both trials. The latitudinal seed transfer distance had a significant but relatively small effect on survival, stem volume/ha and proportion of trees with a stem defect. The proportion of trees with a stem defect increased linearly in relation to the seed transfer distance from the south. The relationship of both survival and stem volume/ha to the seed transfer distance was curvilinear. Volume/ha was increased by transferring seed from ca. 2 degrees of latitude from the south. A longer transfer from the south, as well as transfer from the north, decreased the yield.