Betula nigra L.  - River Birch


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Betula nigra - (image 1 of 7)



Family: Betulaceae


Banks and floodplains of streams and rivers.


Frequently found growing with silver maple.


NH south to FL, west to southern Ontario, southeast MN, eastern KS, and TX.


Medium tree, typically multi-stemmed. Leaves rhombic-ovate, doubly serrate, broad base. Twigs slender, red-brown, with rough lenticels; buds acute. Bark exfoliating heavily. Fruit a cylindrical pubescent ament, erect, maturing in late spring


Flowers early to mid May in northeast IL.

Wetland Indicator: Facultative Wetland

Rusty-brown or pink-gray exfoliating bark is most readily recognizable feature.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA




Michael Hough 2004