Betula nigra 'Dura-Heat' (River Birch)
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Betula nigra, commonly known as river birch, is a vigorous, fast growing, medium-sized native tree that occurs in floodplains, along streams and riverbanks, and in other wet or swampy areas. A valuable species for erosion control when placed along river banks, Betula nigra is also a host plant for many species of butterfly and moth and is also a favorite of birds and mammals; mammals and birds flock to eat the tree's seeds, and deer and other larger mammals will browse young branches closer to the ground. The 'Dura-Heat' cultivar improves upon the straight species with additional heat and drought tolerance, as well as improved insect and disease resistance.
'Dura-Heat' prefers full sun, and moist to wet soil and, once established, can grow 2-3' per year up to a mature height of 40-70' tall with a canopy spread of up to 35' wide. Equally valuable as an ecological addition and an ornamental one, river birch features salmon-pink exfoliating bark with glossy, medium to dark green leaves which turn a striking yellow shade in the fall.