This article has been marked as incomplete and in need of reformatting. Please help us to improve it.

Practical Plants is a community wiki. You can edit this page to improve the quality of the information it contains. To learn how, please read the editing guide.

Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Inner bark - cooked or dried and ground into a meal[1][2][3]. It can be added as a thickener to soups etc or can be mixed with flour for making bread, biscuits etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply[115, 177, K].

Sap - raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. It is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It makes a pleasant drink[4]. It is often concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water[1][5][6][2][7]. Between 4 and 7 litres can be drawn off a mature tree in a day and this will not kill the tree so long as the tap hole is filled up afterwards[4]. However, prolonged or heavy tapping will kill the tree[4]. The flow is best on sunny days following a frost. The sap can be fermented into a beer. 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.\"[8]. Young leaves - raw or cooked[2]. Young catkins[2]. No more details are given.

A tea is made from the leaves[2][9] and another tea is made from the essential oil in the inner bark[10].

Flowers

Inner bark

Leaves

Unknown part

Tea

Material uses

The bark is used to make drinking vessels, canoe skins, roofing tiles etc[4]. It is waterproof, durable, tough and resinous. Only the outer bark is removed, this does not kill the tree. It is most easily removed in late spring to early summer.

A pioneer species, it readily invades old fields, cleared or burnt-over land and creates conditions suitable for other woodland trees to become established. Since it is relatively short-lived and intolerant of shade, it is eventually out-competed by these trees[11][12]. A tar-oil is obtained from the white bark in spring. It has fungicidal properties and is also used as an insect repellent[13][6][14]. It makes a good shoe polish[15]. Another report says that an essential oil is obtained from the bark and this, called 'Russian Leather' has been used as a perfume[16]. A decoction of the inner bark is used to preserve cordage[4], it contains up to 16% tannin[17][18]. An oil similar to Wintergreen oil (obtained from Gaultheria procumbens) is obtained from the inner bark[10][15]. It is used medicinally and also makes a refreshing tea[10]. The resin glands (the report does not say where these glands are found) are used to make a hair lotion[19]. A brown dye is obtained from the inner bark A glue is made from the sap[1][5][6][2]. Cordage can be made from the fibres of the inner bark[4]. This inner bark can also be separated into thin layers and used as a substitute for oiled paper[13]. The young branches are very flexible and are used to make whisks, besoms etc[20]. They are also used in thatching[6][14] and to make wattles[13]. The leaves are a good addition to the compost heap, improving fermentation[21].

Wood - soft, light, durable. It is used for a wide range of purposes including furniture, tool handles, toys and carving[6][14][22]. A high quality charcoal is obtained from the bark. It is used by artists, painters etc[6]. The wood is also pulped and used for making paper[22].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, diaphoretic[10][23][24].

The bark is diuretic and laxative[25]. An oil obtained from the inner bark is astringent and is used in the treatment of various skin afflictions, especially eczema and psoriasis[13][22]. The bark is usually obtained from trees that have been felled for timber and can be distilled at any time of the year[22]. The inner bark is bitter and astringent, it is used in treating intermittent fevers[13]. The vernal sap is diuretic[13]. The buds are balsamic[25]. The young shoots and leaves secrete a resinous substance which has acid properties, when combined with alkalis it is a tonic laxative[13]. The leaves are anticholesterolemic and diuretic[25]. They also contain phytosides, which are effective germicides[25]. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of gout, dropsy and rheumatism, and is recommended as a reliable solvent of kidney stones[13]. The young leaves and leaf buds are harvested in the spring and dried for later use[22]. A decoction of the leaves and bark is used for bathing skin eruptions[13].

Moxa is made from the yellow fungous excrescences of the wood, which sometimes swell out of the fissures[13].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Canopy or Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Pioneer

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame[26][27][28][29]. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position[26][27][29]. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame[28][29]. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help[29]. 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[26][27][28][29].

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



Cultivation

A very easily grown plant, it tolerates most soils including poor ones[30][31], sandy soils[32] and heavy clays. It prefers a well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position[33][34]. It is occasionally found on calcareous soils in the wild but it generally prefers a pH below 6.5, doing well on acid soils[12]. Fairly wind tolerant[34] though it becomes wind shaped when exposed to strong winds[K].

The silver birch is a very ornamental tree[30] with many named varieties[33][34]. It also has a very wide range of economic uses. It is a fast growing tree, increasing by up to 1 metre a year, but is short-lived[11][34]. It is often one of the first trees to colonize open land and it creates a suitable environment for other woodland trees to follow[11]. These trees eventually out-compete and shade out the birch trees[11][12]. It makes an excellent nurse tree for seedling trees, though its fine branches can cause damage to nearby trees when blown into them by the wind. Trees take about 15 years from seed to produce their own seed[35]. Although closely related, it does not usually hybridize with B. pubescens[33]. It often hybridizes with B. pubescens according to another report[12]. A superb tree for encouraging wildlife, it has 229 associated insect species[31]. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process[21][36]. It is also a good companion plant, its root action working to improve the soil[21].

Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[34].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Betula pendula. 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 pendula.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Betula pendula
Genus
Betula
Family
Betulaceae
Imported References
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
2
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.52.62.7 Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden. Pitman Publishing ISBN 0-273-00098-5 (1976-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.64.7 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.66.7 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.6 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.5 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.4 Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs. Jarrold (1979-00-00)
  13. ? 13.0013.0113.0213.0313.0413.0513.0613.0713.0813.0913.1013.11 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.2 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
  18. ? 18.018.1 Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins The Forestal Land, Timber and Railways Co. Ltd. (1946-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.1 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
  21. ? 21.021.121.221.3 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.122.222.322.422.522.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  23. ? 23.023.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  24. ? 24.024.1 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
  25. ? 25.025.125.225.325.4 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  26. ? 26.026.126.2 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  27. ? 27.027.127.2 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
  28. ? 28.028.128.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  29. ? 29.029.129.229.329.4 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
  30. ? 30.030.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  31. ? 31.031.1 Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
  32. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
  33. ? 33.033.133.233.3 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  34. ? 34.034.134.234.334.434.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  35. ? Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. ()
  36. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)

"image:European birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Betula pendula"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyBetulaceae +
Belongs to genusBetula +
Functions asPioneer +
Has common nameSilver Birch +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partFlowers +, Inner bark +, Leaves +, Sap + and Unknown part +
Has edible useUnknown use + and Tea +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeWind +
Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone2 +
Has imageEuropean birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useAdhesive +, Besom +, Charcoal +, Compost +, Dye +, Essential +, Fibre +, Fungicide +, Hair care +, Paper +, Polish +, Repellent +, Tannin +, Thatching +, Waterproofing + and Wood +
Has mature height20 +
Has mature width10 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAnticholesterolemic +, Antiinflammatory +, Antirheumatic +, Antiseptic +, Astringent +, Bitter +, Cholagogue +, Diaphoretic +, Diuretic +, Laxative +, Lithontripic +, Miscellany + and Skin +
Has primary imageEuropean birch summer leaves and green cone.jpg +
Has search namebetula pendula + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceVery acid +, Acid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teheavy clayture preferenceHeavy clay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameBetula pendula +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy + and Secondary canopy +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +