“Silver birch is a striking, medium-sized deciduous tree native throughout the UK and Europe.” When I read this sentence on the internet, I was wondering if I had heard of this tree back in India? Couldn’t recollect the name so I sort of agreed that this tree is a native of Europe and UK with a heavy heart. Trees should not be restricted to a particular place but rather should be found in every country maybe with some variations in colour or size based on the geographic conditions, just like human beings! 🙂
I happened to visit my colleague’s house and she has a beautiful garden and I got my first hand real glimpse of the silver birch tree. I was excited for no reason and clicked a few pictures. The tree had lush green leaves when I saw it and she shared me the photos of the tree taken during early spring and the tree almost did not have any leaves. What a massive change it was – hats off to the creator again! Few pictures of the elegant silver birch below –
Some facts I learnt about the silvery birch trees –
- Scientific name (quite easy to remember, full of ulas! ) – Betula Pendula
- The barks are silver in color and I assumed that’s the reason for its name. (photo below)
- Silver Birch is monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers (called catkins) are found on the same tree, from April to May. Male catkins are long and yellow-brown in colour, and hang in groups of two to four at the tips of shoots. Female catkins are smaller, short, bright green and erect. (photo below)
- Wood of birch tree is highly flammable. It can catch a fire even when it is wet. Because of that, birch tree is used as high-quality firewood
- Substances extracted from Birch trees are used as ingredients in the cosmetic and pharmaceutial industries – it seems soaked bark from this tree can be used as a cast for the broken arm
- Sap extracted from this tree is used in the manufacture of wine and beer and can also serve as a substitute for sugar
- It also provides food and habitat for more than 300 insect species, Woodpeckers and other hole-nesting birds often nest in the trunk
Mytology – It is interesting to know how we human beings have included the trees, animals and nature into our life styles and made them an important part of our existence. This simple birch is no exclusion indeed! Birch symbolises renewal, purification, love & fertility. Native British gardeners make brooms out of the birch twigs and use it to drive out the negative spirits and ‘purify’ their gardens. This is more interesting – Scottish Highland folklore says, a barren cow herded with a birch stick would become fertile, and a pregnant cow would bear a healthy calf. Hope you enjoyed saying hello to the silver birch!
Thanks to Parul for organising the Thursday Tree love which is a photo feature blog hosted on 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.