Stunning silver birch - renews and purifies

Birch trees are striking with their white or silver trunks, grow tall and their open canopy leads to a diverse woodland habitat.  In Celtic mythology, the birch symbolises renewal and purification and in Highland folklore is a symbol of love and fertility. 

Birch trees (Betula pendula) are striking with their white or silver trunks; light, open canopy; and mature trees can reach up to 30m in height.  The open canopy allows other woodland plants like bluebells, grasses and wood anemone to flourish, all in turn support a rich and diverse habitat for insects, birds and mammals.

The leaves are light green, small and triangular-shaped with a toothed edge, which fade to a warm yellow in the Autumn.  

The flowers of the silver birch are called catkins with both male and female flowers found on the same tree, from April to May.  After successful wind pollination, female catkins thicken and change to a dark red.  Tiny seeds form in the Autumn and are dispersed by the wind.

In Celtic mythology, the birch symbolises renewal and purification.  Bundles of birch twigs were used to drive out spirits of the old year, and gardeners still use the birch besom (broom) to 'purifiy' their gardens.  In Scottish Highland folklore birch is also used as a symbol of love and fertility, with a child's cradle traditionally made from birch.

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