Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Wooden Wonders part five: birch

Posted: February 12, 2012 at 11:14 am Author: Kate Cashmore

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

The bark of birch trees is the amazing feature of their trunks.

Betula utilis var utilis

It varies with different species from pure white (called ‘silver’) through yellow and orange to a rich red.

In many, the bark is shed in strips that hang down dramatically.

When a silver birch tree has fallen and rotten, the bark is often left as a hollow ring.

In Russia, it is made into beautiful carved boxes. Birch wood is used for writing paper, bobbins, charcoal and besom brooms, and was traditionally used for maypoles and early aircraft. It is also good for fire-lighting.

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