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Betula nigra - River Birch

Betula nigra is a large, deciduous tree with the potential for growing to 25m tall with a wide, ovoid crown and gracefully arching branches.

It is probably best known for the beautiful pink-brown bark which exfoliates to reveal a creamy white underneath and gives a fantastic display all year round.

The leaves are ovate, with a serrated margin, typical of the Betula genus. Along with attractive yellow catkins, they emerge a vibrant lime green, heralding the start of spring, and darken as the season progresses. River birch also has a good autumn colour in shades of buttery yellow.

Native to the swamps and river banks of NE America, Betula nigra grows well on wet ground. It will grow well in full sun and once established, is one of the few Birches that can tolerate heat extremely well.

Betula nigra is available from Deepdale Trees as a standard or as a multistem. The multistem form shows off the brilliant bark to particularly good effect.

FACT: The sap has a sweet flavour and has been used to make beer and vinegar.

Plant Profile

Name: Betula nigra

Common Name: River Birch

Family: Betulaceae

Height: 20-25m

Demands: Nutritious soil, moist soil in full sun

Foliage: Diamond shaped leaves, bright green in spring, yellow in autumn

Flower: Yellow catkins in early spring just before the leaves emerge

Bark: The most appealing feature, cinnamon coloured peeling in curly strips to reveal oranges and creams underneath.

Betula nigra info sheet

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