Betula pendula (Silver Birch)

Betula pendula woodland
Betula pendula woodland

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Lady of the Wood’, silver in Celtic mythology, birch symbolises renewal and purification. The sap of this beautiful tree can be tapped as the sap rises in spring to ferment into a birch wine. The Druids of old are thought to have done this to make a cordial to celebrate the spring equinox.

Interesting Facts

  • Known as a pioneer species, meaning it is one of the first trees to grow in an area of bare land and can do so quite quickly and effectively.
  • They can be used to improve soil quality as the roots bring up nutrients from deep within the soil which are usually inaccessible. These nutrients then return to the surface soil when the tree leaves drop in autumn.

Wildlife Uses

  • Provides habitat and food for over 300 species of insects
  • Invaluable food source for many species of moth caterpillars including buff-tip and Kentish glory
  • Tree dwelling species of bird such as woodpeckers, will often nest inside the trunks of these trees
  • The seeds of this tree are eaten by birds such as greenfinches & siskins
Betula pendula catkins
Betula pendula catkins