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Silver Birch   NATIVE
(Betula pendula)

Scots name: Birk

One of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut.

Rapid growth occurs for the first 20 years or so, with the tree mature at 40 years old.
The wood is white to pale fawn colour and is easily worked.

Uses and folklore

Birch is good for firewood and pulpwood.
Used in turnery and formerly for cotton reels and bobbins.
The treated wood is also used for fence posts.
Birch twigs used for making traditional brooms or besoms, where the twigs are lashed to
a handle also made of birch. Birch symbolized purification, so gardeners would use birch
brooms to purify their gardens.

The sap can be tapped and fermented into birch sap wine, while the bark has been used to
write upon, for tanning leather and, as it is high in antiseptic qualities, used as elastoplast
to help heal cuts and wounds.

 Birch bark           Leaf and seed

The leaves were said to be a remedy for cystitus and other urinary infections, as was the sap,
which was also considered good for skin infections.