Betula nigraBetula nigra

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Betula nigra
  • COMMON NAME: Red or River Birch
  • FAMILY: Betulaceae
  • NATIVITY: Eastern North America; found along streams and rivers of southern coastal plain where it is the only birch found.
  • GROWTH HABIT: Pyramidal when young, rounded when mature, multitrunked, low-branched; 40'-70' (90') tall. Can average 2' growth per year. Medium to fast growth rate.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 4-9
  • CULTURE: Moist, rich, acid soil, but adaptable to soil moisture. Heat tolerant.
  • FACULTATIVE STATUS: ¬†Facultative wetland
  • LANDSCAPE USE: An outstanding native tree with attractive ornamental bark.
  • FOLIAGE: Alternate, simple, 1 ½" - 3 ½" long, ovate, acuminate, serrate margin. Sometimes has shallow lobes.
  • BUDS: Small, less than 1/5" long, chestnut-brown. Male catkins present fall to spring (all Betula), borne in 2's and 3's; 2"-3" long.
  • BARK: Exfoliating; gray-brown to ivory or copper-colored.
  • FRUIT: Small nutlet borne in catkins.
  • PROPAGATION: Easy from seed or cuttings.
  • PESTS: Leaf miner; considered borer-resistant.



University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153