Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Betula nigra

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, doubly serrate and two-ranked. Leaves are triangular in shape with a wedge-shaped base and a hairy underside. Twigs are zigzag, hairy and with lenticels and triangular leaf scars. Bark is orange-pink-brown and scaly or may peel. Fruit is a nutlet enclosed in a papery cone. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. River birch is found along rivers and streams in the east and central U.S. and is intolerant of shade. The wood is red-brown and used for pulp and light furniture. This tree is a popular ornamental and cultivars are available for landscaping.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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