Birch tree

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Birch tree (shirakaba)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula,
in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa. It is widespread on the Northern Hemisphere, across a variety of boreal, mountainous and temperate climates.

The common name "birch" is derived from an old Germanic root, birka, with the Proto-Indo-European root *bherəg, "white, bright; to shine." The Proto-Germanic rune berkanan is named after the birch. The generic name Betula is from Latin.

The bark of all birches is characteristically marked with long, horizontal lenticels, and often separates into thin, papery plates, especially upon the paper birch. It is practically imperishable, due to the resinous oil it contains. Its decided color gives the common names gray, white, black, silver and yellow birch to different species.

silver birch

Birch wood is fine-grained and pale in colour, often with an attractive satin-like sheen. Ripple figuring may occur, increasing the value of the timber for veneer and furniture-making. The highly-decorative Masur (or Karelian) birch, from Betula verrucosa var. carelica, has ripple textures combined with attractive dark streaks and lines. Birch wood is suitable for veneer, and birch plywood is among the strongest and most dimensionally-stable plywoods, although it is unsuitable for exterior use.

Extracts of birch are used for flavoring or leather oil, and in cosmetics such as soap or shampoo. In the past, commercial oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) was made from the sweet birch (Betula lenta).

Birch is also associated with the feast of Pentecost in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia, where its branches are used as decoration for churches and homes on this day.

Birch sap is a traditional drink in Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern China. The sap is also bottled and sold commercially. In the British Isles, the sap is often used to make a wine

Birch bark is high in betulin and betulinic acid, phytochemicals which have potential as pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals which show promise as industrial lubricants.
Birch bark can be soaked until moist in water, and then formed into a cast for a broken arm.
The inner bark of birch can be ingested safely.
In northern latitudes, birch is considered to be the most important allergenic tree pollen, with an estimated 15-20% of hay fever sufferers sensitive to birch pollen grains. The major allergen is a protein called Bet v I.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Betula grossa — Japanese cherry birch

Betula mandschurica — Manchurian birch
Betula mandschurica var. japonica — Japanese birch


kigo for late spring

shirakaba no hana 白樺の花 (しらかばのはな)
birch blossoms

..... kaba no hana 樺の花(かばのはな)
..... kanba no hana かんばの花(かんばのはな)
..... hana kanba 花かんば(はなかんば)


kigo for late autumn

shirakaba momiji 白樺黄葉(しらかばもみじ)
colored leaves of the birch tree

Worldwide use

Birke, Birkenbaum

Things found on the way

. shirakaba ningyoo 白樺人形 dolls from birch wood .

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .


Sweets from Hokkaido

shirakaba jueki shiroppu 白樺樹液から白樺シロップ
birch syrup

shirakaba no shizuku 白樺の雫チョコレート
chocolate made with birch syrup

. syrup from birch sap .

Tea from the leaves of the birch tree
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


shirakaba no ame ni tsubame no su ga niou

from the rain on the birch
the nest of the swallow
is smelling

. Iida Ryuta (Iida Ryouta) 飯田龍太 .


- Seeds from a Birch Tree -
Clark Strand

a beautiful, literary book about writing haiku in the spirit of haiku

Infused with hearty Zen wisdom and proceeding at a deliberately unhurried pace, Seeds from a Birch Tree attempts to make the poetry of nature into an easily accessible refuge from the fast pace of the technological world.


birch catkins
still surround by mystery
of the winter

- Shared by Gennady Nov
Joys of Japan, March 2012

Related words

***** . Tree (ki, jumoku) forest .



Anonymous said...

White bark anchored in to
The ground. The sky above provides
A nice contrast here.

A Tree of the Arboretum
Dylan Bougher

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

aki kaze ya kawa o hagareshi kanba no ki

autumn wind
stripping the birch tree's

(Tr. David Lanoue)

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