River Birch is a graceful, medium-sized (fifty to eightyt feet) deciduous tree with an irregular, open, spreading crown. It is the most heat tolerant of the birches and the only birch that grows in lower elevations in NC. Although it is often found in floodplains and river bottoms, and tolerates wet conditions, it is also adaptable to upland sites. In addition, then, to adding charm to naturalized areas such as streambanks, River Birch is used as an ornamental shade tree in suburban yards as well. It grows both single-stemmed and multi-stemmed. Its most distinctive ornamental feature is its bark, which is gray/brown in color, usually exfoliating in curly, papery sheets revealing a lighter inner bark beneath. Foliage is dark green, with doubly-toothed margins. Its foliage supports an array of butterfly and moth larvae and the seeds are eaten by birds such as Ruffed Grouse, Greater Prairie Chicken, Pine Siskin, White-Winged Crossbill, Purple Finch, and Black-Capped Chickadee. The canopy casts only light shade below which allows shade-loving perennials to thrive underneath. The River Birch is a medium- to fast-growing tree, is beautiful and generally trouble-free, and generous in its support of wildlife.