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This Month in the Newton Conservators Almanac

December 2012

Photo by Beth E. Schroeder

RIVER BIRCH, Betula nigra

River Birch is most commonly found in moist areas. It is a fast-growing, medium-sized tree with a single or multiple stems that grows to be 50 to 70 feet tall. River birch can live to be 100 years old. River birch is best known for its attractive exfoliating, creamy orange bark. Bright yellow-brown catkins appear in March or April. They mature in May and June and shed their seeds in mid-summer. The seeds are scattered by the wind. Pine siskin, redpoll, fox sparrow and tree sparrow eat the river birch seeds. The leaves are roughly diamond-shaped, with serrated edges. In the fall, the foliage turns a pale yellow.

More information:

US Department of Agriculture

Arbor Day Foundation


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


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