Plant Index


 
 
 

Betula nigra

Betula nigra L.

river birch, red birch

Cultivar(s): Heritage, Summer Splash
Betula nigra (River Birch)
Image ID: 10399
Image by: Sorrie, Bruce A.
Image Collection: NCBG Digital Library

PLANT INDEX

ID_PLANT: BENI
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Betula nigra
Include in WOTAS: 0
Publish to Web: 1
Last Modified: 2019-11-29

CULTIVAR INDEX

Cult_id Cultivar_name Action
1189 Heritage View
1190 Summer Splash View

GENUS INDEX

GENUS CODE: BETUL
GENUS SCIENTIFIC: Betula
GENUS AUTHORITY: L.
GENUS COMMON: Birch
GENUS SUMMARY: A genus of 35-100 species, trees, shrubs, and subshrubs, of subarctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The subgeneric classification shown follows Schenk et al. (2008).
GENUS IDENTIFICATION:
GENUS REFERENCES: Schenk et al. (2008); Grant & Thompson (1975); Furlow in FNA (1997); Furlow (1990)=Z; Hardin (1971)=Y; Jrvinen et al. (2004); Govaerts & Frodin (1998); Kubitzki in Kubitzki, Rohwer, & Bittrich (1993).

FAMILY INDEX

FAMILY CODE: BETULA
FAMILY SCIENTIFIC: Betulaceae
FAMILY AUTHORITY: S.F. Gray 1821
FAMILY COMMON: Birch Family
FAMILY SUMMARY: A family of 6 genera and about 150 species, primarily of subarctic to cold temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, but extending through Central America to n. South America. The two subfamilies recognized here are sometimes elevated to family status, as by Govaerts & Frodin (1998).
FAMILY REFERENCE: Furlow in FNA (1997); Furlow (1990)=Z; Hardin (1971)=Y; Govaerts & Frodin (1998); Kubitzki in Kubitzki, Rohwer, & Bittrich (1993).

NCBG DESCRIPTIVES

INTRO: A small to medium-sized, deciduous tree, commonly ranging from 15–25 m (50–80 ft.) tall when mature. Bark is salmon-pink to creamy white, tan, grayish brown or reddish brown and separating in irregular sheets, becoming dark brown and furrowed on older trees. Leaves are alternate, relatively small (mostly 4–8 cm long), and more or less arrowhead shaped. The leaf margins are variously toothed, except for the base of the leaf blade, which is entire. Flowers are arranged in separate male and female catkins that occur on the same tree, the dangling male catkins forming during the summer and persisting on the tree through the winter. Fruits are brown or tan, small (3–7 mm long) samaras that are borne in dense, cylinder-shaped structures that look like cones. (Botanically, however, these are not cones since, unlike the conifers, the seeds are produced by small flowers.) River birch is common along the rivers and streams of the Piedmont, sometimes hanging far out over the water. Easily recognizable by it’s exfoliating or roughly furrowed bark.
STEMS: Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) red or reddish-brown, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrous. Leaf scars crescent-shaped or half-round or triangular, bundle scars 3 per leaf scar, stipule scars present or inconspicuous, short shoots present, short shoots bearing leaves. Bark of mature trunks with conspicuous lenticels or exfoliating or furrowed or shreddy. Buds axillary, reddish-brown, (4–)5–7 mm long, ovoid or ovoid-conic, sharp, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent, ciliate or puberulent or tomentose, bud scales imbricate.
LEAVES: Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate or spiral, (3–)4–8 cm long, (2.5–)3–6 cm wide, deltoid or ovate or rhombic, leaf margins dentate or serrate or doubly serrate, leaf apices acuminate or acute, leaf bases cuneate or obtuse or truncate. Leaf upper surface green, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent, tomentose. Leaf lower surface green or white, glabrate or pubescent or with tufts in vein axils, tomentose or villous. Leaf venation pinnate, secondary veins on either side of the midvein 5–12. Petioles 0.3–2 cm long, pubescent. Stipules present, caducous, scarious.
INFLORESCENCE: Inflorescences terminal, catkins or cymes or simple dichasia, flowers sessile or stalked.
FLOWERS: Flowers unisexual or pistillate or staminate, epigynous. Perianth. Calyx synsepalous. Sepals (2–)4(–6) per flower. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens (1–)2(–4) per flower, separate. Gynoecium. Ovaries inferior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 2 carpels per flower, styles 2 per pistil, placentation apical. Other floral features. Hypanthia present.
FRUITS: Fruits nuts or samaras, 0.3–0.7 cm long, brown or tan, fruit maturation 1 years.
COMMENTS: Mature bark salmon-pink to creamy white, tan, grayish brown or reddish brown and separating in irregular sheets, becoming dark brown and furrowed; base of the leaf blade entire, the upper portion variously serrate or dentate; the small fruits borne in dense, cylinder-shaped, cone-like structures, 1.5–4 cm. long.
HEIGHT: 50-80 ft

DURATION: Perennial
HABIT: Tree

LEAF ARRANGEMENT: Alternate
LEAF COMPLEXITY: Simple
LEAF RETENTION: Deciduous

FLORAL CHARACTERISTICS
SYMMETRY:
BLOOM TIME: February or March or April.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
x x x x

BLOOM COLOR:
White Red Pink Orange Yellow Green Blue Lavender Purple Violet Brown Not Applicable
x x

FRUITING PERIOD: May-Jun.

DISTRIBUTION
HABITAT TYPE: Bottomlands, Moist forests, Woods margins
NATIVE RANGE: eastern United States

HORTICULTURAL
Plant Sale Text: In nature, river birch is found in moist river bottom soils, but it is a highly adaptable and heat tolerant tree for urban or naturalistic situations. It also provides fabulous winter interest with silver-colored bark that peels to reveal a cinnamon-brown trunk. A medium to fast growing tree, it is a medium-sized tree with an average height of 30-50 ft and a spread of 40-60 ft. Although it can handle harsh urban environments, to enjoy your river birch for a long time, plant in moist soils. Prune in summer when the sap has stopped flowing. This genus supports up to 400 lepidoptera species as well as other wildlife. A host plant for the Mourning Cloak and Dreamy Duskywing butterflies.

Bloom Table Text:

NCBG Location:

Cultural Notes:

SOIL MOISTURE: Dry, Average, Moist/Wet
LIGHT EXPOSURE: Sun, Part Shade, Shade
MINIMUM HARDINESS ZONE: 4
MAXIMUM HARDINESS ZONE: 9
GERMINATION CODE:
WILDLIFE VALUE: Bee Friendly, Bird Friendly
DEER RESISTANCE:

GRIM ACCESSIONS

acc_id acc_num acc_dt coll_id Action
780 1985-0435 View
781 1985-0436 View
3703 1991-0398 View
4468 1992-0624 View
5964 1995-1094 View
8393 2005-0169 2005-05-31 View



GRIM PLANTINGS

plt_num acc_id loc_num pers_num inst_dt Action
1496 780 158 NCBG staff 1996-01-01 View
1497 781 167 NCBG staff 1982-11-04 View
6007 3703 199 NCBG staff 0000-00-00 View
6796 4468 200 NCBG staff 1993-03-01 View
8541 5964 2 NCBG staff 1992-01-01 View
11652 8393 205 Liloia 2005-04-22 View

USDA PLANTS DATABASE

USDA Symbol: BENI
USDA Common Name: River Birch
Native Status: L48 (N)
Distribution: USA (AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV)
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Tree

NATIONAL WETLAND INDICATOR STATUS

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FACW FACW FACW FACW

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2016 National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.3 (Lichvar, R.W., D.L. Banks, W.N. Kirchner, and N.C. Melvin. 2016. The National Wetland Plant List: 2016 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2016-30: 1-17. Published 28 April 2016. ISSN 2153 733X). Regions: AGCP-Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, AK-Alaska, AW-Arid West, CB-Caribbean, EMP-Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, GP-Great Plains, HI-Hawaii, MW-Midwest, NCNE-Northcentral and Northeast, WMCV-Western Mountains, Valleys & Coast

WEAKLEY FLORA

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Betula nigra
COMMON NAME: River Birch, Red Birch
SYNONYMY: [= C, F, FNA, G, GW, Il, K1, K2, Pa, RAB, S, Va, W, WH3, WV, Y, Z]
PHENOLOGY: Mar-Apr; May-Jun.
HABITAT: Riverbanks, streambanks, floodplains, sandbars, disturbed uplands.
COMMENTS: NH west to se. MN and e. KS, south to ne. FL, FL Panhandle, and TX.
RANGE MAP: Betula nigra.png

Key to Map Symbols
ABOUT FAMILY (Weakley Flora)
Betulaceae S.F. Gray 1821 (Birch Family)
SUMMARY: A family of 6 genera and about 150 species, primarily of subarctic to cold temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, but extending through Central America to n. South America. The two subfamilies recognized here are sometimes elevated to family status, as by Govaerts & Frodin (1998).
REFERENCE: Furlow in FNA (1997); Furlow (1990)=Z; Hardin (1971)=Y; Govaerts & Frodin (1998); Kubitzki in Kubitzki, Rohwer, & Bittrich (1993).
ABOUT GENUS (Weakley Flora)
Betula L. (Birch)
SUMMARY: A genus of 35-100 species, trees, shrubs, and subshrubs, of subarctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The subgeneric classification shown follows Schenk et al. (2008).
REFERENCE: Schenk et al. (2008); Grant & Thompson (1975); Furlow in FNA (1997); Furlow (1990)=Z; Hardin (1971)=Y; Jrvinen et al. (2004); Govaerts & Frodin (1998); Kubitzki in Kubitzki, Rohwer, & Bittrich (1993).

HERBARIUM RESOURCES

SERNEC: Find Betula nigra in Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available)
UNC SERNEC: Find Betula nigra in University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium - Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available)

WEB RESOURCES

USDA: Find Betula nigra in USDA Plants
NPIN: Find Betula nigra in NPIN Database
FNA: Find Betula nigra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Betula nigra

NCBG IMAGE RECORDS

ID IMAGE1: 10399
ID IMAGE2: 10400
ID IMAGE3: 4794

From the Image Gallery


Image ID: 4801

Image ID: 10400

Image ID: 10401

Image ID: 10403

Image ID: 10404

Image ID: 35956

Image ID: 4794

Image ID: 4795

Image ID: 10402

Image ID: 35955
11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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