River Birch (Water Birch)
Bon View Estates Linear Park, North 3rd & Monroe Streets, Denver PA (parking lot is just west of Monroe near its intersection with North 3rd)
Bon View Estates Linear Park probably has the largest concentration of River Birch in Lancaster County. Native to the Eastern United States, Betula nigra typically lives in floodplains and can tolerate submersion of its lower parts for days or even weeks at a time. While its exfoliating bark doesn't quite have the stunning color of the Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum; see separate entry), B. nigra's bark is nevertheless spectacular, especially in younger trees.
At Bon View Linear Park, a dozen of these trees line an entrance road in what is an impressive one-sided allee display. Additional River Birches are scattered throughout the park, which lies in the floodplain of the Little Cocalico Creek.
This amazing species is a heat-tolerant member of what is otherwise a cold-weather family of trees. Unlike other birches, River Birch can be found as far south as Florida.