Within a life span similar to our own (which is relatively short in the tree world), Birch trees can completely transform their environments. A pioneer species, they have the ability to move into a piece of open ground, and transform it into woodland. Their deep roots can draw a vast amount of nutrients up through the earth which they return to the soil in the Autumn when they lose their leaves. This creates favourable conditions for other tree species to move in. For this reason, Birch trees symbolise new beginnings, growth and rebirth.
They are sometimes referred to as ‘nurse trees’ due to the amount of other species that they support and create habitats for, from other trees, to fungi and wildlife.
Their beautiful, easily recognisable white trunks light up any Winter’s day and they are associated with the Winter Solstice and the return of the light after the shortest day. As we enter Spring, Birch are also celebrated as one of the first trees to Spring into life and have many reasons to be celebrated throughout the seasonal cycle.
At this time of year, I love to gather their nutritious young leaves to enjoy fresh in teas and salads as well as dry them for future teas. They are rather bitter in taste and have a wealth of Spring properties – celebrated for detoxing the body and removing the stagnancy of Winter. They are used in the treatment of rheumatism, kidney stones and UTI’s and their cleansing properties can also benefit the skin. As with any plant remedy, is it important to ensure it is right for you individually, researching especially if you have any health conditions and introducing it gently to see how it works for you.
We would love to hear about your experiences or connections with the beautiful Birch tree so feel free to leave us a comment.