Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

RIVER BIRCH
Betula nigra
Betulaceae

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.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: