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8. River Birch
One of Minnesota's more plentiful native trees, the River Birch (Betula nigra) is typically found along the banks of rivers and small streams and swampy areas that may be periodically flooded. The natural range of the River Birch is widespread from the Midwest to the northeast United States and as far south as northern Florida.
The tree is also called the Red Birch because of its distinctively cinnamon-reddish brown bark which curls back in thin paper-like layers revealing the pink of the inner bark. The River Birch truly stands out in Minnesota winters with its colorful bark against the white snow. The River Birch is often grown in clumps or as a multi-trunked tree in order to display its exfoliating bark.
Generally a medium-sized tree of 30 to 50 feet in height, River Birch trees can occasionally grow 75 to 80 feet tall. The River Birch's wood is heavy, fine-grained and strong. It is used in furniture, flooring, millwork, boxes and spools, and is popular for burning in fireplaces and wood stoves.
In the spring, the flowers are long catkins which open before the leaves. Cone-like fruit appears in May and June. The leaves turn a dull yellow before dropping in the fall.
Nearly 30 River Birch trees line the north side of the WSU Library where they have been planted in a series of small triangular sections dissected by short sidewalks.
(see #28 on the maps)
Last Modified: Thursday, May 08, 2008 13:59 by