Hillier Trees | Betula nigra | River Birch
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Royal Horticultural Society

World Record Holder for Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Betula nigra

"River Birch"

Common Name

"River Birch"


8-10m high x 4m wide after 25 years


A hardy tree that tolerates both extremely wet and dry locations. Endures high temperatures, making it ideal for planting around sheer surface infrastructure that reflects heat


Easily its most prominent feature. Its bark peels in curls of cocoa coloured strips, revealing cinnamon cream swirls underneath


Catkins are wind pollinated and up to 6cm in length. Quite unique for birch that these mature in late spring, offering yellow colour against the green leaves


Multi-stem option available

Betula nigra is perfectly suited for the harsh conditions of our urban locations, and can be used as a great alternative to London Plane. Although the birch is a family that mostly thrive in colder climates, the nigra tolerates heat undoubtedly well. This grants it a practical choice where locations are surrounded by buildings which reflect high concentrations of heat.

Originally native to the swampland's of southern America, the river birch thrives in sites prone to extreme water-logging, and can tolerate poor soil structures such as clay.

Its unmistakable bark is certainly its key feature of interest, with clear stages of maturity. During its youth, it peels thin warm layers of coral pink, which rustle gently in the wind revealing the new bark below. As the tree matures, these soft colours develop into a deeper, cocoa brown and burnt amber.

For populated urban locations, our heavy standard tree with a single central leader is an ideal choice. Due to the charm of the bark, Hillier also grow first class multi-stem varieties for its beauty as well as its functionality.