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Birch (Betula spp.)    
Family: Betulaceae      
                     
  blacklocustleaves  

Location:

  • Found on wet soils, mostly along streams and ponds, humid and cool temperature

Characteristics:

  • Often large, deciduous tree, sometimes shrub

Uses:

  • Green twig used for toothbrush
  • Used for fire building – bark for tinder, hardwood for bow drill, as fuel for slow cooking
  • Bark oil used for insect repellent
 
 

 

Leaves:

  • Alternate, simple
  • Ovate or elliptical in shape, doubly saw toothed
  • Paired stipules (shed early)
         
    blackcherrybark  
         

 

Bark:

  • Mostly smooth, sometimes peels in paper-like fashion

Fruiting Strucures:

  • in cone-like clusters, short-winged
  • small nuts

Notes: In the ancient world, Birch was called 'The Mother Tree', because it was the pioneer of new generation and possessed endurance when the land was too barren or unsuitable for new growth. Indeed, when the glaciers of the ice age withdrew up north, land was first inhabited by birch. In Scandinavian mythology, birch represented the spirit of Freya, the great Mother Goddess.

 
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