The Remarkable River Birch

April 2019

River Birch (Betula nigra) With its beautiful bark and grateful branches, this tree is a favorite for ornamental landscape use and more

- Bark is an old folk cure for a stomachache. Today, the essential oil is popular in supporting sore muscles and imparting a cool freshness that is instantly soothing and uplifting to the mind.

- Blooms in April and May with individual flowers arranged in long clusters known as “catkins.”

- Typically not used in the commercial lumber industry due to knotting, but has been used to make things like woodenwear, ox yokes, shoes, furniture, toys, basketball courts and even artificial limbs.

- The birch is a symbol of a new beginnings and hope. It represents prosperity and strength because of its stable growth.

- Despite being deciduous, the tree looks beautiful in the winter months due to its unique bark, which creates a mosaic of texture and color that changes over the life of the tree—silver-gray, pinkish and light-reddish brown deepen to a dark brown or black as the tree ages.

- Often found in floodplains, swamplands, and along streams and lakes. Works well for keeping erosion in check.