Thursday 20th July 2017
Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
The Young birch trees can easily be identified by their white, peeling bark which sheds in thin, paper like layers. As the tree grows older the bark becomes rough and darkens. Silver birches support a wide variety of wildlife including over 300 insect species, several fungi and hole nesting birds such as woodpeckers who nest in the trunk and feed on the insects who dwell within the tree. Like Alder, Birch is a pioneer species and grows quickly where there is ample sunlight. Birch trees develop deep roots which pull nutrients up from beyond where most trees can reach, leading the way for slower growing species such as Oak.
By Tom Cowley
Fun fact; Throughout history birches have been used by humans as the timber is easily worked and remains pale throughout as its heartwood being less distinct than most other hardwood species, its uses range from kitchen utensils and furniture to roofing shingles and skis! The bark has also found numerous uses, from tinder and a construction material for containers to tanning leather and medicinal uses.