A simple life is a happy one, learning to enjoy, explore and discover whatever your age :)

Oot ma door 5 – the silver birch tree

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Hi Folks 🙂

Today’s tree is the siller birk, or silver birch tree.

Where I was brought up, there was a ‘queen’ birch tree in my garden, with fronds like hair, that glowed in the light. She grew taller than all the other trees and I loved looking at her through all the seasons.

Time for a talehow the birch tree came:



Silver birch – how we can use it

Birch bark

The bark naturally peels off the trunk and makes great kindling:

If you want kindling, take only a little – every tree needs its bark like you need skin

If you look round a birch woodland, some trees will have fallen and the heartwood rotted away, yet the startling white bark remains:IMG_4814 The bark is resilient and can be made into bowls, baskets and other useful implements

Birch wood

This tree has beautiful light, straight grain and can be used for making furniture. In the past the hardwood was used for making bobbins, reels and spools for the cotton industry. Check out this site for more info:

Birch sap

The sap can be tapped from the tree in early March, when winter is waning. It is a refreshing, wholesome water that can be drunk straight from the tree. You can take a little from one tree – but then move on to another. Watch here to see how it can be done simply, without long-lasting damage to the tree:



The silver birch tree

The tree

The younger tree’s trunk shines white, the older tree’s marked by dark indented areas

The bark

Silver birch bark has flat white areas  broken by darker areas. As the bark ages, it gradually thickens and darkens from the base upwards:

IMG_9822 Silver birch bark

Time for another tale – an Ojibwe legend, ‘How the silver birch got its burns’:



Challenge – can you make up your own tale about the birch tree?

The buds, flowers, leaves and fruit

The small, neat buds of the silver birch lie alternately up the twigs and branches of the tree. In spring the male catkins develop on many of the branches:


As the spring moves into summer, the neat heart-shaped leaves have appeared, the hanging male catkins have released their pollen and the upright female catkins have been pollinated:


In autumn the female catkins have many seeds on each ‘shelf’, which are released into the wind as the catkin dries or falls to the ground:IMG_5500 Autumn catkins

birch seed 2 A birch seed

In autumn, birch trees glow:IMG_4704IMG_4764

With silver-white bark and heart-shaped leaves

On heather moors, or windswept braes

In forest of pine or rowan glades

You rise, slim, elegant, queen of the trees

Thanks for joining me, see you next time 🙂






Author: graceeyetoheart

My work springs from my love of nature and supporting others to touch, discover and be in the outdoors. This work often intermingles with my love of story, music and song.

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