The most important thing about river birches is that they were declared by Prince Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, to be the most beautiful of American trees -- a sentiment we definitely agree with. Some other things to know about river birches is that they are deciduous, upright, flowering trees with exfoliated, light brown bark. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and quickly drop off the tree. This type of birch is the only native birch that thrives in low elevations in the south. In general, river birches grow in wet sites with moist, acidic, sandy, rocky, or well-drained loam (meaning there are equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay. The specific tree we studied is very large with two bifurcations, causing it to have three main trunks. The branches were of the alternating pattern, and seed pods were observed on the ends of the branches. The bark was scaly.