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Betula pendula (Silver birch)

Family

 Betulaceae

General Description

Deciduous tree 20-25 m height. Foliage : conical when young, later domed, with hanging branches. Bark at a young age is yellowish brown, later formed a white, thin dry-bark that peels into transverse stripes, like sheets of paper.

 

Sheets

Alternately, bare, triangular-shaped or rhombic, strongly acid-peaks, length 3-7 cm. They are minutes, roughly double serrated sides and smooth the base. Young sticky due to glandular secretions that later lowered. Leaves are cordate, hairy.

Flowers

Conical, usually acute sticky, brownish.

Flowers

Unisexual. Is a plant that in the same individual has male and female flowers. Males : in brownish catkins hanging per 1-3 on the tops of macro-sector. They are shown since autumn last year. Females are green initially upright and later hanging Catkin, on top of the annual short-Leaf-sectors. Flowering in March - May.

Twigs

Thin, usually hanging, reddish shiny, strong glandular.

Fruit

Cones cylindrical, light brown to brown. The nuts are light brown with side flaps 2-3 times wider. Maturing : in June - August during the flowering period

Biological requirements

Occurs in dry soil, poor soil and very wet soils. It shows the best growth in fresh, deep sandy soils. It is “friend-light” type, with requirements in light greater than all broadleaved.

Geographical spread

Europe and Asia. It is the only species of the genus Betula that appears in our country and specifically in the Rhodopes, Bald Mountain, Pangaeum, Voras, Paiko.

Uses

Birch is a natural painkiller that contains salicylic acid, a compound found in aspirin. The decoction of buds and young birch leaves, is used in traditional medicine as a bactericide, healing and antiseptic. Among others, the leaves of birch have a diuretic effect. Help burn fat and reduce uric acid. The young leaves of birch are rich in saponins. They contain a diuretic flavonic derivative, the hyperoside, terpenes and tannins. The bark contains betoulinoli (camphor of betoulas) and a glycoside (the betoulodisi). Flavonoids containing fresh birch leaves assist in metabolic activation and release the body from that charged it. The extract of young birch leaves results in combat fluid retention mainly through increased metabolic actions. The leaves of birch are effective cure for cystitis and other urinary tract infections. Also eliminate the excess water from the body. Because of the cleaning and diuretic action, this plant has been used for gout, rheumatism and mild arthritic pain.

Information

­­­Athanasiadis, N., Forest botany II: Trees and shrubs of forests in Greece, S. Giachoudis & SIA O.E., 1986.

Distribution at the region
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