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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Inner bark - cooked or dried and ground into a meal. The meal can be used as a thickener in soups etc, or be added to flour when 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[177, K].

Sap - sweet. Harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. The flow is best on warm days that follow frosty nights. The sap is drunk as a sweet beverage or it can be fermented to make birch beer or vinegar[1][2]. 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.\"[3].

Inner bark

Material uses

A pioneer species, readily invading old fields, burnt-over or cleared land and providing suitable conditions for other woodland trees to become established[4]. It is an excellent crop for very poor soils, where it grows rapidly and affords protection to the seedlings of more valuable and slower-growing trees[5]. Since this species is short-lived and not very shade tolerant, it is eventually out-competed by these other trees[4]. Wood - close-grained, soft, light, weak, not durable[6][5][7][8]. It weighs 36lb per cubic foot[8]. Unimportant commercially, the wood is used locally for making clothes pegs, spools, pulp, charcoal and quite commonly as a fuel[6][5][7].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark is astringent. a decoction has been used to treat bleeding piles[9]. Scrapings of the inner bark have been used to treat swellings in infected cuts[9].

Unknown part

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[10][11][12][13]. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position[10][11][13]. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame[12][13]. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help[13]. 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[10][11][12][13].

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



Cultivation

Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position[14][15]. Tolerates most soils doing well on poor ones[16] and on heavy clays.

A fast growing tree, though it rarely lives longer than 50 years[15][7]. It is a pioneer species of abandoned fields, burnt-over lands, cleared woodlands etc[15][7]. A fairly wind-tolerant plant[15], but it is shallow-rooted and older trees are often uprooted by winds and heavy snow in the wild[7]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[17], especially with B. papyrifera[18]. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process[19].

Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[15].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Betula populifolia. 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 populifolia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Betula populifolia
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
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    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

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    "image:Gray birch against gray sky.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.2 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.215.315.415.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    16. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    17. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
    19. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)

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