- Common Name(s):
- River birch
- Duraheat, Little King Fox Valley (dwarf), Heritage, Summer Cascade (weeping), Shiloh Splash (variegated foliage)
- Native Plants, Trees
The Betula nigra tree is a deciduous tree that may grow 60 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are alternate with doubly toothed margins. The bark of young trees is reddish brown with a papery appearance. As the tree ages, the bark divides into flat, scaly ridges with black furrows. Light green, 2 to 3 inch slim, cylindrical flower mature in mid-spring. The tree produces a cone-like aggregate which contains 3 tiny seeds. The River Birch has graceful branches, is easy to transplant and heat tolerant. This tree may drop some leaves during dry weather. The River Birch has cinnamon brown, exfoliating bark.
Regions: Peidmont, Coastal Plain
Seasons of Interest:
Bloom: Spring Bark: Winter
Wildlife Value: The River birch is a host plant for Mourning Cloak and Dreamy Duskywing butterflies. Many moths also use as a host plant. The seeds are eaten by birds. Birds and squirrels eat the male catkins in late winter/early springtime. This tree is resistant to damage by deer. Wind screen.
Play Value: Wind screen, buffers and attracts wildlife.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: River birch prefers wet sites so if you have a well-drained yard you will have yellow leaves falling during summer droughts and dry periods. Pruning should not be done in the spring due to sap "bleeds".
- 40-70 ft.
- The River Birch has light green, 2" to 3" slim, cylindrical flowers and fruiting catkins.
- The River Birch prefers a sunny to partially shaded setting. It does best in moist, wet soil. It shows stress during hot months in well-drained soils. This species has been known to tolerate flooded conditions for extended periods of time.
- Fine to medium
- Pyramidal when young; upright; open; thin twigs
- Full sun to partial shade
- 40-60 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- Moderate to rapid
- The leaf of the River Birch is 2- to 3.5-inches. It is an alternate, simple leaf with modest yellow fall color.
NCCES plant id: 1921