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
|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.|
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.