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Betula nigra

Object Details

Description
As its common name implies, the river birch is most commonly found growing along streams, where it helps control erosion. It is an excellent landscaping tree, due to its curling creamy brown bark, better disease resistance than other birches, and ability to stand slight drought and flood. The river birch is also planted to reclaim land damaged by strip mining and control erosion. This birch produces many nutlets, which attract songbirds.
This tree is Threatened in New Hampshire.
Hardiness
-30 - 30 F
Attracts
Birds; gypsy moth larvae
Bloom Time
April-May
Medicinal / Pharmaceutical
Leaves chewed or used as an infusion to treat dysentery. Infusion of bark was used to treat stomach problems and urination problems.
Provenance
Uncertain
Range
Central to E USA
Habitat
Low and medium elevations, most common along streams
Topic
Trees
Living Collections
See more items in
Smithsonian Gardens Tree Collection
On Display
National Museum of the American Indian
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Accession Number
2011-1436A
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Common Name
River Birch
Water Birch
Red Birch
Black Birch
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Rosanae
Order
Fagales
Family
Betulaceae
Genus
Betula
Species
nigra
Life Form
Deciduous tree
Average Height
40-70'
Bark Characteristics
Light brown to buff, paperlike. Exfoliating on young trees, scaly on older trees.
Bloom Characteristics
Brown and green catkins, unisexual, on the same tree. Male catkins form on twig tips in the fall and mature the following April or May. Female catkins develop with the leaves and open in early spring.
Fall Color
Yellow
Foliage Characteristics
Simple, alternate, oval-rhombic, base cuneate, doubly serrate, glossy green above, gray or blue-gray and pubescent beneath, with 7-9 paired veins. 1-3" long.
Fruit Characteristics
Winged, small, brown, and many. Mature in May to June.
Structure
Young: pyramid Mature: rounded
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax7cd8831ce-4cc0-4012-968f-7cc92780e06f
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2011-1436A
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
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