Betula nigra, commonly called river birch, is a vigorous, fast-growing, medium-sized, In cultivation, it can be trained as either a single trunk or multi-trunked tree. As a single trunk tree, it develops a pyramidal habit when young, but matures to a more rounded shape typically growing 40-70' tall. Multi-trunked trees form a more irregular crown and are generally considered to be the superior growth habit for this species.
Salmon-pink to reddish brown bark exfoliates to reveal lighter inner bark. Leathery, diamond-shaped, medium to dark green leaves (1.5-3.5" long) with doubly toothed margins turn yellow in fall. Monoecious flowers appear in drooping, brownish male catkins and smaller, upright, greenish female catkins.