Betula nigra L.
  • Sp. Pl.
  • River birch, red birch

Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2020): Betula nigra L. Published on the Internet; Accessed on: 04 Dec 2020'

General Information

Trees , to 25 m; trunks often several, crowns round. Bark of mature trunks and branches grayish brown, yellowish, reddish, or creamy white, smooth, irregularly shredding and exfoliating in shaggy sheets when mature; lenticels dark, horizontally expanded. Twigs without wintergreen taste or odor, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, often with scattered, tiny, resinous glands. Leaf blade rhombic-ovate, with 5--12 pairs of lateral veins, 4--8 × 3--6 cm, base broadly cuneate to truncate, margins coarsely doubly serrate to dentate, apex acuminate; surfaces abaxially moderately pubescent to velutinous, especially along major veins and in vein axils, often with scattered, minute, resinous glands. Infructescences erect, conic or nearly globose, 1.5--3 × 1--2.5 cm, shattering with fruits in late spring or early summer; scales often persistent into early winter, lobes 3, ascending, branching distal to middle, narrow, elongate, equal to somewhat unequal in length, apex acute. Samaras with wings narrower than body, usually broadest near summit, not extended beyond body apically. 2 n = 28.

  • Provided by: [C].Flora of North America @
    • Source: [
    • 1
    • ]. 

    "Tree to 30 m, the brown bark exfoliating in thin layers, scaly- roughened on larger trunks; lvs ovate-oblong or deltoid-ovate, 4–8 cm, acute, sharply double-serrate above, entire toward the cuneate base, tomentose beneath when young, soon glabrescent on the surface but remaining softly villous on the veins beneath and tomentose on the petiole; lateral veins 6–10 pairs; fruiting catkins on peduncles 5–8 mm, cylindric, 1.5–3 cm; scales pubescent, 6–8 mm, parted above the middle into 3 oblong lobes; frs pubescent, depressed-ovate, 3–4 × 4–7 mm, the body 2.5–4 mm wide. Swamps and flood-plain forests; N.H. to Fla., w. to s. O., se. Minn., e. Kans. and Tex."

  • Provided by: [B].New York Botanical Garden
    • Source: [
    • 2
    • ]. 

    Other Local Names

    River birch, red birch


     Information From

    World Flora Online Data. 2017.
    • A CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    New York Botanical Garden
    Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
    • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
    Flora of North America @
    'Flora of North America @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • C Flora of North America Association
    World Flora Online consortium
    World Flora Online Data. 2018.
    • D CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    Global Tree Search
    BGCI. 2018. GlobalTreeSearch online database. Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Richmond, U.K. Available at Accessed on 30/11/2018.
    • E Botanic Gardens Conservation International