Monthly Archives: July 2012
A recent stroll along the James River reminded me of my love for the river birch. As I neared the end of my walk in downtown Richmond, I happened upon a few stately specimens, their bark in full peeling splendor.
You’ll know the river birch, or Betula nigra, when you see it. The bark peels up from the trunk in layers, revealing a rainbow of tans, reds and browns (“cinnamon” is a good description). These colors are more vivid in older trees. Oval or triangular leaves have double-toothed edges, and the trunk is typically divided into two or three trunks.