River Birch

Arbor walk #94, TreeKeeper ID #5861

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.

As a relatively heat-resistance 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 Cully 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.

Common NameRiver Birch
Latin NameBetula nigra
Indigenous Name(s) 
Cultivar/Variety Cully
Commercial Name Heritage

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More about Tree #94:

Where to find Arbor Walk #94

Data on the space around this tree

Data on this tree over time

More about the River Birch in general:

How to identify River Birch

Relationship of Betula nigra to other species in the Arboretum

Global Distribution of River Birch

Additional Resources on the River Birch