Silver birch is a broadleaved tree that has white bark, sparse crown and serrated, triangular leaves. It is a fast-growing pioneer species that produces plenty of seeds and colonizes efficiently free habitats. Silver birch flowers at the time when comes into leaf.
Silver birch thrives in bright forests medium or rich in nutrients. It does not grow on peatlands. Silver birch is distributed in the northern parts of Eurasia.
Because of its dense wood, silver birch is suitable for firewood and carpentry. Its wood is also raw material for plywood and silver birch pulp is used in papermaking. Silver birch also is the raw material of xylitol and its branches are used as bath whisks. The leaves of silver birch have been used as tea and medicinal herbs and its bark has been used to make birch-bark shoes, knapsacks and horns. At one time silver birch was a sacred tree, and nowadays it is the national tree of Finland.
Silver birch is economically the third most important tree species in Finland. Its silvicultural use has varied along the years. At the moment its susceptibility to mole and elk damage limits its wider cultivation. It is recommended to let birch grow as a mixed species in pine and spruce stands, because its leaf litter improves soil quality. In addition, both living birch and birch deadwood provide a habitat for many other species.
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