Scientific Name: Betula nigra
Origin: Eastern US
Why is it called River Birch? Because it grows along large rivers, such as in the lower Mississippi River valley. The River Birch holds the banks and prevents erosion and flooding.
Common Names: River Birch, Red Birch, Black Birch and Water Birch
Mature Height: 40-70 feet
Mature Width/Spread: 40-60 feet
Leaves: 1.5 to 3 inch long triangular leaves that are round toward the bottom, has many points and is pointed at the top.
In the fall, the leaves become: yellow
Historical tidbit: The wood was once used for wooden shoes and ox yokes. Native Americans also used the boiled sap as a sweetener similar to maple syrup.
Did you know …
- River Birches average an annual growth rate of about 36 inches and need 30 to 40 gallons of water a month.
- They can be planted to control erosion.
- The seeds are eaten by many birds.
Peattie, Donald. A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America, 2nd New York, Bonanza Books, 1963
PAGE INFORMATION WAS COMPILED AS PART OF NOAH WERNING’S 2020 EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT.