Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Paper-Bark Birch

Paper birch, paper-bark birch, white birch, canoe birch – all are common names for the same species: Betula papyrifera. In my neck of the woods (tee hee) this tree is seen fairly often in the wild...and is not the species of birch tree often seen dying on front lawns.

Paper-bark birches are wild yes, but that doesn't diminish the beauty of their chalky white bark or the lovely way the bark peels as it ages. And for the life of me I can't figure out why so many people plant the European version instead of the indigenous one, since the imported variety is so prone to disease.
Here's a closer view of peeling bark. Isn't it a lovely shade of peach?

This is the species of birch that First Nations people used to cover the sides of canoes and teepees. They also used the wood to make snowshoes. What's more, they used birch sap, collected in the same manner as maple syrup, as a medicine to treat colds.

11 comments:

dot said...

Really nice enjoyable post! The color of the peeling bark IS a beautiful color. I remember when I lived in Maine admiring the white color of the birch as we don't see those here that I'm aware of.

dot said...

This is planted mustard. Sometimes we plant several different kinds of greens like turnips, rape, mustard, radish and cook them together. I prefer just the mustard tho. Yes boil it like spinach but you need a little bacon grease or a ham hock for flavor. I also use it in salad sometimes. Much more than you wanted to know! lol

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Birch bark is an excellent fire starter for wood stoves and fireplaces.

Why do you moderate posts? Do you really have to?

1&2 said...

Awesome, I rememer seeing huge paper birches like this in Algonquin, they're pretty cool.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Fenix,
The reason I moderate posts is because sometimes people respond to posts I've made several days in the past. If I moderate, I see them all.

Old Wom Tigley said...

What a great post about a great tree... as you say our birch do not last long... and the ones that do must be these.. ha!.. we to collect the sap.. but not to cure colds... more to mix with beer or spirits. It is quite sweet.

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

"The reason I moderate posts is because sometimes people respond to posts I've made several days in the past. If I moderate, I see them all."

I thought so, that's why I asked.

I've got good news for you: You don't need to moderate comments to be able to see them all.

Here's what you do:

1. Click "Dashboard"
2. Click "Settings"
3. Click "Comments"
4. Scroll down and uncheck "Enable comment moderation"
5. Enter your email address where it says "Comment Notification Email"
(Do it with confidence, you won't get spam from Blogger.)
6. Save settings.

From now on a copy of every comment will be immediately emailed to you :).

Most bloggers use email notification (which also allows you to spot spam right away and delete it).

I'm glad you like my blog. :) What you said about the comment window taking too long to open really surprises me, it's always opened quickly when I reply to comments. ::scratching head::

Ken said...

I do like birch trees.
It is odd they don't sell the native version.

Chrisss said...

I never realized how pretty the bark could be...and you're right it is a beautiful shade of peach.

Small City Scenes said...

I like Birch Trees too. Another thing I remember as a kid was that you could use the peeling bark to write notes on. I believe we learned that at school. Use pencis and it doesn't fade. al least not 100 yrs ago when I was a kid. MB

Kostas said...

Very good post, with a lot of information, the photographs marvellous!

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.