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Betula fontinalis

Betula occidentalisSynonym: Betula fontinalis. (Water Birch)
Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Streamsides. Spring.
Grandstaff Canyon, Utah, April 1, 2004.

River Birch is found in moist soils, often within a few feet of year-round streams.  It can grow to 35 feet tall but usually is shorter in thicket clumps such as the one this three inch diameter trunk is part of.  Clusters of stems merge at their base and older, multiple-trunked trees appear to be perched on a pedestal.

"Betula" is the classical Latin name for the plant, "fontinalis" is of unknown meaning, and "occidentalis" means "western", in reference to the plants location in the U.S.

Betula fontinalis

Betula occidentalisSynonym: Betula fontinalis. (Water Birch)
Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Streamsides. Spring.
Grandstaff Canyon, Utah, April 1, 2004.

Betula occidentalisSynonym: Betula fontinalis. (Water Birch)
Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Streamsides. Spring.
Grandstaff Canyon, Utah, April 15, 2008.

River Birch is monoecious, having both male (shown here) and female flowers separate but on each tree.  In each of the slits in the chain, tiny stamens protrude.

Betula fontinalis

Grandstaff Canyon, Utah, April 13, 2005.
Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, Escalante/Grand Staircase National Monument, Utah, October 23, 2007.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Betula occidentalis