River Birch ‘Cully’ HERITAGE

Arbor walk #94

A native tree of the eastern and Midwestern US, the River Birch is also known as the Black Birch. The Heritage cultivar was discovered in a St. Louis, Missouri suburb and introduced by Earl Cully a well known Plantsman from Illinois. The ‘Heritage’ grows 40’ tall and 40’ wide.

Name River Birch ‘Cully’
Latin Name Betula nigra ‘Cully’ HERITAGE
Type Native Cultivar
Diameter 3” caliper
Color of Leaf Dark green with lighter undersides, turns yellow in fall.
Shape of Leaf Simple, alternate, 2 to 3 inches long, triangular or wedge-shaped with doubly serrated tooth margins.
Color of Flower Pale Red or Pale Yellow
Shape of Flower Male flowers are long, slender catkins near tips of stems; female flowers stand upright along same twig. (both types are found on an individual Dura Heat)
Fruit Characteristics Cone-like with hairy clusters of winged seeds
Bark Characteristics An attractive cream and cinnamon-colored peeling bark.
Foliage Type Deciduous

As a relatively heat-resistant tree in the Birch family, the River Birch tree’s distribution extends further south than most other Birch trees. River Birches have papery, scaly bark, and often has multiple thin trunks rather than one large trunk.

The River Birch functions as an ecologically valuable species because of its flood-resilience and ability to mitigate impacts of acid mine drainage. The bark of the River Birch can also be considered a survival food. An ornamental tree, the HERITAGE cultivar is very similar to the DURA-HEAT cultivar in that it is a lighter colored tree that is resistant to the Bronze Birch Borer beetle species.

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