What is a birch bark

Birch trees

Birch trees are easy to recognize by their white bark. Here you can see a birch in autumn.

Birches are deciduous trees. There are around a hundred different birch species in Europe, which together form a genus. Birch trees are easy to recognize by their black and white bark. The wood of the birch is light and has a fine grain. It's pliable and easy to cut. That's why people like to make plates out of them.

Most people think birch trees are beautiful, which is why they are often planted in cities. More and more people are having difficulties with the birch trees: The large amount of pollen from the flowers irritates their eyes, nose and lungs. These people have an allergy, more precisely hay fever. Some people suffer very badly from it.

Birch trees are important to many species of birds because they give them buds and seeds for food. There are also over a hundred species of butterfly caterpillars that love to eat birch leaves. The birch is the third genus of plants in the order of the most popular butterfly plants.

The birch is the symbol of Estonia. In Russia, Finland and Poland the tree is a national symbol, much like the “German oak”.

How do birches grow?

Birch trees often grow where there were no plants before. Because they are the first, they are called pioneer plants. The soil can be wet or dry for birch trees. We grow on dunes as well as on moors or in the heather.

Birch trees reproduce in a special way. There are male and female flowers, but both grow on the same tree. The male catkins hang down and are shaped like small sausages. The female catkins stand upright. Birch trees don't need bees for pollination, the wind does that here. That is why it takes so much pollen.

Small nuts form in the flowers, these are the seeds. They have a hard shell like hazelnuts, for example. Some also have a small wing, similar to the maple. This allows them to fly a little further away from the trunk and spread better.

What use is the birch trees to humans?

The birch trees were already used by people in the Stone Age. They made a glue from the juice. For example, they used it to fasten a stone wedge in a handle and thus received a hatchet. Even in the Middle Ages, some hunters coated birch trees with this glue, which was called “bad luck”. Many birds would stick to it and be eaten. When attacking a castle, the defenders poured bad luck on the attackers. From these applications comes the expression “bad luck”, which we still use today.

In the past, birch wood was used to make clothespins or wooden shoes. Today you turn the logs on an axis and cut off a thin layer on the outside. Lay the layers lengthways and crossways and put glue in between. This is how you get very stable plywood panels.

You can cut into the bark of a birch tree and hang a bucket under the cut. The sap that then runs out can be used as with the maple or rubber tree. Together with sugar you can cook a delicious drink from it.

In addition to the juice, you can also use the bark and leaves. From this you get vitamin C, shampoos against hair loss, means for tanning leather and many other things. You can eat a lot of birch leaves. The wood burns even when it is fresh and wet because it contains so much oil.

  • This is how the artist Otto Moderson painted birch trees.

  • The birch trees can be recognized by their white bark.

  • Birch trees are quite light in color. Here insects drink the sap of the birch.


There are also other search results for “Birken” from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

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