Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Sap - raw or cooked[1]. A sweet flavour[2]. Harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl. The trunk is tapped by drilling a hole about 6mm wide and about 4cm deep. The sap flows best on warm sunny days following a hard frost. It makes a refreshing drink[3][4] and can also be concentrated into a syrup or sugar[5]. The sap can be fermented to make birch beer or vinegar[5]. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- \"To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr'd together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm'd. When it is sufficiently boil'd, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work...and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.\"[6].

Unknown part

Material uses

Young branches are used to make besoms, whisks etc[7].

This species has an extensive root system and is sometimes planted for erosion control along the banks of streams[8].

Wood - light, strong, close grained and hard, but it contains many knots because of the numerous branches along the trunk. It weighs 36lb per cubic foot. Of little use commercially, though it is sometimes used for furniture, turnery etc[9][10][11][8][12].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A salve was made by boiling the buds until they were thick and pasty, sulphur was added and this was then applied externally to skin sores and ringworm[13].

The leaves have been chewed, or used as an infusion, in the treatment of dysentery[14].

An infusion of the bark has been used to treat stomach problems, 'milky' urine and difficult urination with discharge[14].

Unknown part

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Canopy or Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Earth stabiliser

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame[15][16][17][18]. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position[15][16][18]. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame[17][18]. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help[18]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring - do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter[15][16][17][18].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Betula nigra. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position11, 43, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Likes its roots within reach of water[19]. Dislikes wet soils according to another report[20]. Shade tolerant[20].

Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[21]. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process[22].

Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[20].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Betula nigra. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Betula nigra.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Betula nigra
Genus
Betula
Family
Betulaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
4
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems [24]
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    Native Environment
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    20 x
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:River birch bark.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:River birch bark.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:River birch bark.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:River birch bark.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (32202/01/01)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (32202/01/01)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (32202/01/01)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (32202/01/01)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (32202/01/01)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (32202/01/01)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (32202/01/01)
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (32202/01/01)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (32202/01/01)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (32202/01/01)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (32202/01/01)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (32202/01/01)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (32202/01/01)
    14. ? 14.014.114.2 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (32202/01/01)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (32202/01/01)
    16. ? 16.016.116.2 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (32202/01/01)
    17. ? 17.017.117.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (32202/01/01)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.318.4 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (32202/01/01)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (32202/01/01)
    20. ? 20.020.120.220.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
    21. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (32202/01/01)
    22. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (32202/01/01)
    23. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (32202/01/01)
    24. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named http:.2F.2Fen.wikipedia.org.2Fwiki.2FBetula_nigra



    "image:River birch bark.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Betula nigra"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteFalse +
    Article requires citationsFalse +
    Article requires cleanupFalse +
    Belongs to familyBetulaceae +
    Belongs to genusBetula +
    Functions asEarth stabiliser +
    Has binomial nameBetula nigra +
    Has common nameRiver Birch +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partSap + and Unknown part +
    Has edible useUnknown use + and Sweetener +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has growth rateVigorous +
    Has hardiness zone4 +
    Has imageRiver birch bark.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useBesom + and Wood +
    Has mature height20 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useDiuretic +, Salve + and Stomachic +
    Has primary imageRiver birch bark.jpg +
    Has root zoneShallow +
    Has search namebetula nigra + and river birch +
    Has seed requiring scarificationFalse +
    Has seed requiring stratificationFalse +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy +, Clay + and Heavy clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameBetula nigra +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy + and Secondary canopy +
    Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
    Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    Native to environmentRiparian +
    Native to geographical rangeEastern North America +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates air pollutionFalse +
    Tolerates maritime exposureFalse +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilFalse +
    Tolerates windFalse +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Betula nigra +, Betula nigra +, Betula nigra +, Betula nigra +, Betula nigra +, Betula nigra + and Betula nigra +