Trees of Wisconsin

Betula nigra L.
river birch
Family: Betulaceae
tree leaf young bark mature bark twig

The leaves of Betula nigra are simple, alternate and doubly toothed and they are also usually shallowly and irregularly lobed. The bark of young trunks and branches over about 1 inch in diameter is papery and peeling, obviously similar to that of Betula papyrifera, but with a decided pinkish coloration. More mature trunks become irregularly dark gray and rough with deep fissures that usually retain some of the pink coloration in their depths.

Betula nigra grows primarily in flood plains, but it may also be found in adjacent upland sites nearby and it is commonly cultivated as a decorative tree. The main range of B. nigra is from the eastern portions of Iowa and Texas, east across southern Illinois and Ohio to Pennsylvania and south to northern Florida. It extends further north in a narrow zone along the Mississippi River to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where it occurs sporadically up the Wisconsin River to near the middle of the state.

known Wisconsin distribution


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