I fell a week or so ago and injured my knee badly. Though the injury dashed my Summer dreams of gardening and hiking and getting a puppy, it occurred when I was focusing on contentment and on …focus. It’s inconvenient to have such a challenge. It’s much easier to think about improving oneself than to be in the arena where action is required. However I have continued to try focusing on contentment, and one of the ways I keep myself okay with this delay is that I’m taking advantage of the time I can spend on research. Presently, I’m learning about the native plants on our land. This time: birch trees.
Here is the research I’ve collected so far on Birch Trees:
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Sweet Birch, Black Birch, Cherry Birch, Mahogany Birch, Spice Birch
P / Phosphorus (Hemenway)
Wood: furniture, millwork, cabinets
Sap: “flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster. Trees can be trapped in a similar fashion, but must be gathered about three times more often. Birch sap can be boiled the same as maple sap, but its syrup is stronger (like molasses).” (Little)
Food: the inner bark may be eaten raw as an emergency food. | “It’s similar to cinnamon bark; mother used it in pumpkin pies if she didn’t have cinnamon.” (Bass)
Tea: the twigs and inner bark may be steeped into a tea.
Oil: “was once harvested extensively to produce oil of wintergreen, so the tree was borderline endangered until the ’50s-’60s when synthetic oil of wintergreen appeared.”
Hemenway, Toby. 2009. Gaia’s Garden: a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 132. | location: my own library
Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 366. ISBN-0-394-50760-6. | location: found through Wikipedia’s list of sources on this plant
Bass, A. L. Tommie (the words quoted are his). Crellin, John K., Philpott, Jane (1989). Herbal Medicine Past and Present: Volume II A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants. Duke University Press. p. 96. | location of source: archive.org and borrow the book for 1 hour at a time. try this link.