Betula / berk

Birch or Betula is a graceful and elegant tree with upright or drooping branches

Betula (Bot.)
Birch (Eng.)
Bouleau (French)
Birke (German)

Betulaceae – Birch family

The birch tree is a mystery. He is the tree of the north and playing in numerous legends and myths play a role. No tree is so hardy as the birch tree that even north of the Arctic Circle is growing. Despite its elegant appearance, he is still one of the toughest trees with strong winds meebuigt. In northern Scandinavia and Russia finds old birch forests, virgin forests that one might call. On the rugged tundra shrub forms also occur.

The birch tree is sacred in the Siberian peoples. The spirit of the birch is a mature woman who occasionally appears from the roots. If a man drank her milk, his strength tenfold.

For the Finns is the world spirit eagle on the birch. For Germans of the birch was the tree of wisdom. They knew of leaves, twigs and juice magical and medicinal properties to it. They believed that the earth birch enclosure formed by the goddess Freya. The Celts, the birch dedicated to Bergha or bridged, goddess of poetry, divination, medicine and ironwork. The saint of Kildare was bridged goddess of rebirth, fire and vegetation. On February 1 in Ireland still the feast of the Holy Bridged celebrated. The Celtic Druids used birch twigs at initiation rituals.

plant Characteristics

The Birch is a graceful and elegant tree with upright or drooping branches, beautiful in spring with its long, drooping catkins, the light green leaves and usually white bark. A friendly tree is also a symbol of charm and finesse. It is also called Lady of the Forest or the White Woman of the green veil. In the Scandinavian countries venerate the birch as a tree of light, the new spring.


The word is derived from the birch old Indian word meaning bharg some shiny and probably refers to the white bark. Others say it comes from the Indo-European word bhirg, whose name is Brigitte, my name would be derived. Betula has to do with the Celtic word meaning save what betu and relates to the store with birch branches in the body after a sauna – a visit to the blood flow. Dutch towns like Rodenrijs Berkel, Berkel, Berlicum indicate places where many birches grew.


Birch sap is used in the preparation of ointments, shampoos and hair water should rejuvenate skin and hair. Also, birch to revitalize a person. Birch Leaves picked in the spring alongside contain resin acids and potassium salt can saponin. Saponin is an agent who works for healing rheumatism, bladder – and kidney disease. Birch Leaf Tea DIURETIC.

Birch Journal also serves as agent for wool dyeing. By including a wedge-shaped incision in the trunk on the south west side one can confirm, birch sap can be tapped. Birch sap tastes sweet and can be drunk neat. It helps with lethargy and fatigue for years. It can also be an alternative to sugar and honey are used. One can also make wine.

With an infusion of birch buds you can cleanse the body and aid digestion.

Organic gardeners have found that the formation of compost is promoted as one birch around the compost plant site. This is due to the birch roots secrete substances. Which many birch leaf compost is processed, a depleted soil back to life.

In Scandinavian countries and the Soviet Union, people from the sauna with birch twigs and then beaten with new energy to continue their daily lives. Old Dutch farmers remember that the cow after the winter when they leave the barn in the pasture to be driven, were beaten with birch branches to thereby promote their fertility.

Birch wood is light and usually has small brown spots arranged in rings. It is processed into plywood used for the manufacture of furniture and flooring. Simple houses were not used with pans, but with birch bark and a layer of earth. There was no water through. The birch forest is important for the planting of waste lands. He will be used as a pioneer tree.

a special

In the tops of birch trees, we often remarkable, densely overgrown forests branches called witches broom, caused by fungi dwarf. This would be witches flying through the air.

Legends, tales and folklore

An old Finnish song describes how birches weep and complain because their children every spring back trunks rip their stomachs out and steal the lifeblood, the shepherds from their white belts making baskets, the girls cut their branches to make brooms of loyalty. Boniface called the birch tree, a diabolical because he hoped thereby to eliminate pagan customs. The birch is the tree of witches and Weird Sisters. If you give someone a birch wreath, this is a sign of love (described in medieval poems from Wales). Birch leaves were dried in the cradle of an infant placed weakened

In Scandinavian countries, people celebrate the spring festival in the birch forest when the leaves appear. In many towns and cities is a maypole-out festival, known as the Celtic Beltaine. The maypole is from the forest, stripped of its leaves, decorated with garlands and in the center of the town, often next to the church, put upright. I see every year a maypole standing next to the church in Noorbeek (Limburg). Russian peasant heels on Thursday after Pentecost, and a young birch tree to decorate it with women’s clothes, ribbons, flowers and eggs. The Tartars feared birch forests because they thought that thunder against the trunk so they would bounce and would take.

Species and their characteristics

The birch is a deciduous, monoecious tree that keeps feet wet. It grows like trousers in forest, often in company with the alder. In our country there are four in the wild species, the silver birch (Betula verrucosa or pendula), the soft birch (Betula pubescens), the intersection of both and silver birch (Betula alba). Betula pendula ‘Purpurea’ is a roodbladige birch.

Betula pubescens is the soft kind. Pubescens comes from Celtic and is related to the hairy young twigs. Its upright branches are less flexible than that of the birch. Its buds are big and sticky. It flowers in April / May with drooping male and female catkins. The seeds are larger than those of birch.

The Carpathians Birch (Betula pubescens ssp. Carpatica) is a species that we in the European mountains and the Baltic find. It is a tree of nutrient-poor sandy and peat soils. Terschelling has a large area of Carpathian Birch.

The low birch (Betula Tortuosa) is a species of birch native to Scandinavia.

Betula verrucosa, the raw means covered with warts, because at her young fine twigs, resinous warts located. With its fluted stem what they see coarse. The birch is 30 meters tall and is distinguished by its drooping branches. It is also called weeping birch. During her childhood, the yellow-brown trunk and smooth, white with age. Arise striking cross standing cork pores. They lose long, ribbon-like strips of bark, which on paper look.

The Chinese red birch (Betula albosinensis) is a small-leaved birch tree that is native to the mountains of western China. The overhanging branches have a reddish brown color. The bark is reddish brown and peeling off.

The yellow birch (Betula all Ghani ensis), native to eastern North America is a fast growing tree with narrow, pointed crown. It can be 20 meters high. Bark and twigs are tan.

The gold birch (Betula ermanii) has a round, multi-stemmed crown, yellow-white bark peeling in yellowish white strips. He is native to Northeast Asia and can reach a height of 20-30 meters. It grows on rocky bottoms in his home country, often as a shrub.

The sugar birch (Betula Lenta), native to North America, grows in mountainous areas and fertile bodem.Twijgen leaves are in the cosmetics industry to essential oil extraction.

The Japanese large-leaved birch (Betula maximowicziana) is a multi-stemmed tree with heavy branches constitution. The bark is initially shiny orange-brown and flaking grauwwit is later.

The black birch (Betula nigra) has a rounded crown, reddish-brown peeling bark and much later brownish black. He has a quirky habit. He was imported from the eastern USA.

The paper birch (Betula papyrifera), native to Canada and Alaska, has a bright white bark which flakes off in thin strips of paper.

This entry was posted in Trees and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s