River Birch (Betula nigra)
River Birch is one of the few birches that can handle hot summers of USDA zones 5-9 and is one of the most disease-free native birches. They grow vigorously and quickly to mature heights of 40′-70′. You can find River Birch growing best in floodplains, along streams, and in swampy bottomlands. It has many tolerances including poor drainage, clay soils, pollution, deer, drought, and black walnut. Brown male catkins and green female catkins appear from April to May. Salmon pink to reddish-brown bark exfoliates to a lighter inner bark while contrasting dark, leathery green leaves turn yellow in the fall. River birch has many uses which include erosion control and food and habitat for wildlife.
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.
Photos courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plant Database, Arbor Day Foundation, Pinelands Nursery, Ebben Nursery