Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Beauty of the Birch

As a child, I remember seeing tall, slender birch trees in the forest near a lake we used to go to.  Their distinguishing factor was their startling white trunks!  Tall and often slender, they seemed as regal as kings among the oaks and evergreens.

We also used to drink birch beer soda that has a very distinct taste, one I never really liked that much.

While living away from New England for many decades, I missed  seeing these stately trees with their thin, papery white bark. Now that this area of the country is my home again, I can, once again, enjoy seeing beautiful birch trees.

The Internet's Wikipedia has quite a bit of information about birch trees that was very new to me.  For instance, the fragrant twigs of silver birches are used in sauna baths to relax muscles. 
Also, in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, according to Wikipedia, the people decorate churches and homes with birch branches on the first of Pentacost .  Pentacost, by the way, in Christian tradition, commemorates when the Holy Spirit appeared to Christ's disciples after he rose from the dead.

Diuretic tea can be made from the leaves of the tree as well as extracts for dyes and cosmetics. 
Wikipedia also noted that birch burns well as firewood. It has been used to make cabinets, canoes, and wigwams.  It's also the national tree of Russa.

Here's one last tidbit of folklore pertaining to birch trees. In Germany, on May Day, young men put decorated birch trees in front of the homes of girls they are interested in romantically.

As for me, I just like looking at them.



Chatty Crone said...

I don't have any in my yard, but they are in my neighborhood - they can be misunderstood if you will - they peel and some times you wonder if they are sickly trees. You told me a lot of facts I didn't know. Thanks. Love to learn. sandie

diane stetson said...

My boyfriend carved our names on a birch tree many years ago near a lake. I will always remember that day...

Jane said...

That's a beautiful tree - so pristine and white!


Linda O'Connell said...

The birch tree in this photo makes me yearn for New England and my life-long friend who lives there. It brings back so many vivivd memories of our vacations there. Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

Hi Everybody! Hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful, blessed Sunday.

Welcome to Doni at Faithgracecrafts! She is this blog's 144th Follower! Come visit often, Doni.

Hugs to all! Susan

mo said...

Hi Susan, No birches here in the desert. But I loved the Aspens when I visited Colorado. Beautiful pictures and love the post. *hugs*

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I'm a New Englander and our woods are filled with birch trees. One of sad facts about birch is that they do not survive bad storms at least around these parts. I have a wicker basket filled with fallen birch from my sisters woods. One other thing that I love about birch trees is when the wind blows the leaves seem to dance rather than rustle in the breeze. Great pictures!

Rebecca said...

They're one of MY favorite trees, too. No mistaking them. Your pictures captured their beauty against that BLUE sky wonderfully. (Interesting tidbits, too!)

T's Daily Treasures said...

We are lucky to have any trees around here. Your pictures are gorgeous. And those beautiful blue skies. Brilliant! Hope you are having a great day. :) Tammy

Leann said...

Hi Susan

I have a smaller birch right outside my dining room window that I look at while I visit blogs. It will now always remind me of you.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

LDH said...

I have always love the white bark on birch trees! I don't have any in my yard but a few neighbors do and I enjoy driving past them.

Your photos are gorgeous! :)
Have a great week!

Dianne said...

They are so beautiful against the blue sky... I saw my first one last February went I went to NY state. We have River Birches here in Florida, but they don't have that beautiful white bark... Your photos are stunning!

Susan said...

Thank you, thank you all, my sweet readers.

How happy you make me with your comments.

I love taking photos to share with you. Thank you so much for your kind words and compliments. Hugs to all. Susan

BECKY said...

I LOVE birch trees! I don't think we have many near me, but I do see some, once in awhile! One of my favorite photos of my mom, and of my oldest son, Scott, were taken by birch trees! I'll have to go see if I can find them!

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