Zanthoxylum alatum

Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum alatum
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily:Toddalioideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms :Zanthoxylum armatum.

Common Names: Winged Prickly Ash, Tooyh ache tree

Other vernacular names:
Bengali: Gaira.
Hindi: Darman, Darmar (as Z. alatum), Tejbal, Tejpal, Tejphal, Tumru.
Kannada: Dhiva, Jimmi, Tumburudu.
Malayalam: Thumbunalari, Tumpunal, Tumpuni.
Tamil: Tumpunalu.
Telagu: Gandhalu, Konda kasimi.
Burmese: Gawra kha nan nan, Teza bo.
Nepalese: Timbur, Timur.
Sanskrit: Tejohwa, Tejpal, Tumburu, Tumburuh.
Chinese: Ci zhu ye hua jiao, Qin jiao, Huan hua zhen, Bai zong guan, Shan hua jiao. Zhu ye jiao.
Japanese: Fuyu zanshou.
German: Nepalpfeffer.

Habitat:Zanthoxylum alatum is native to E. Asia – China to the Himalayas. It grows in the forest undergrowth and hot valleys to 1800 metres in the Himalayas.

Description:
Zanthoxylum alatum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in). The tree is almost entirely smooth, with a strong aromatic smell. Bark is corky, with conspicuous young stems with thick conical prickles raising rising from a corky base. Spines are shining and sharp, growing on branchlets. Leaves are alternate, usually with 2 to 6 pairs of leaflets. Petioles and rachis are narrowly winged. Leaflets are elliptic-lanceolate, 2 to 8 centimeters long and 1 to 1.8 centimeters wide. Flowers are small, yellow, usually unisexual, borne in dense lateral panicles. Fruit is usually a solitary carpel dehiscing ventrally, about 3 millimeters in diameter, tubercled, red, and strongly aromatic.

The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. This species is closely related to Z. planispinum. Flowers are formed on the old wood. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The seed is ground into a powder and used as a condiment. A pepper substitute, it is widely used in the Orient. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour. The seed is an ingredient of the famous Chinese ‘five spice’ mixture. The fruit is rather small but is produced in clusters which makes harvesting easy. Each fruit contains a single seed. Young leaves are used as a condiment.
Medicinal Uses:

The seeds and the bark are used as an aromatic tonic in the treatment of fevers, dyspepsia and cholera. The fruits, branches and thorns are considered to be carminative and stomachic. They are used as a remedy for toothache.

Other Uses: 
Miscellany; Teeth; Wood.

The fruit contains 1.5% essential oil. The fruit is used to purify water. Toothbrushes are made from the branches[146, 158]. Wood – heavy, hard, close grained. Used for walking sticks.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+alatum

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Betula pubescens

Botanical Name: Betula pubescens
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betula
Species: B. pubescens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: Betula alba var. pubescens, Betula alba subsp. pubescens

Common Names: Downy birch, Moor birch, White birch, European white birch or Hairy birch

Habitat:Betula pubescens is native to Most of Europe, including Britain, east to W. Siberia and central Asia. It grows on open woodland and heaths, usually on acid soils, from sea level to 830 metres.

Description:
Betula pubescens is a deciduous tree growing to 10 to 20 m (33 to 66 ft) tall (rarely to 27 m), with a slender crown and a trunk up to 70 cm (28 in) (exceptionally 1 m) diameter, with smooth but dull grey-white bark finely marked with dark horizontal lenticels. The shoots are grey-brown and finely downy. The leaves are ovate-acute, 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2.0 in) long and 1.5 to 4.5 cm (0.6 to 1.8 in) broad, with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, produced in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a pendulous, cylindrical aggregate 1 to 4 cm (0.4 to 1.6 in) long and 5 to 7 mm (0.2 to 0.3 in) wide which disintegrates at maturity, releasing the individual seeds; these are 2 mm (0.08 in) long with two small wings along the side……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained light loamy soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates a wet position, succeeding in poorly drained soils. Fairly wind tolerant. Prefers an acid soil. A very ornamental tree and fast growing, capable of growing 1 metre a year but it is short-lived. It is one of the first trees to colonize open land and it creates a suitable environment for other woodland trees to follow. These trees eventually shade out the birch trees. Trees take about 15 years from seed to produce their own seed. Although closely related, it does not usually hybridize with B. pendula. It hybridizes freely with B. pendula according to another report. A superb tree for encouraging wildlife, it has over 200 associated insect species. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process. It is also a good companion plant, its root activity working to improve the soil. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:
Inner bark – cooked or dried, ground into a powder then used with cereals for making bread etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. Harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. The flow is best on sunny days following a heavy frost. The sap is often concentrated into a sugar by boiling off the water. Between 4 and 7 litres can be drawn off a mature tree in a day and this will not kill the tree so long as the tap hole is filled up afterwards. However, prolonged or heavy tapping will kill the tree. A beer can be fermented from the sap. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”. Young leaves – raw or cooked. Young catkins. A tea is made from the leaves and another tea is made from the essential oil in the inner bark.
Medicinal Uses:

Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, diaphoretic. The bark is diuretic and laxative. The inner bark is bitter and astringent, it is used in treating intermittent fevers. An oil obtained from the inner bark is astringent and is used in the treatment of various skin afflictions, especially eczema and psoriasis. The bark is usually obtained from trees that have been felled for timber and can be distilled at any time of the year. The buds are balsamic. The young shoots and leaves secrete a resinous substance which has acid properties, when combined with alkalis it is a tonic laxative. The leaves are anticholesterolemic and diuretic. They also contain phytosides, which are effective germicides. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of gout, dropsy and rheumatism, and is recommended as a reliable solvent of kidney stones. The young leaves and leaf buds are harvested in the spring and dried for later use. A decoction of the leaves and bark is used for bathing skin eruptions. The vernal sap is diuretic. The boiled and powdered wood has been applied to chafed skin. Moxa is made from the yellow fungous excrescences of the wood, which sometimes swell out of the fissures. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Betula species for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Adhesive; Besom; Charcoal; Compost; Dye; Essential; Fibre; Fungicide; Miscellany; Paper; Pioneer; Polish; Repellent; Tannin; Thatching; Waterproofing; Wood.

The bark is used to make drinking vessels, canoe skins, roofing tiles etc. It is waterproof, durable, tough and resinous. Only the outer bark is removed, this does not kill the tree. It is most easily removed in late spring to early summer. The bark was pressed flat and stored until the following spring. When required for making canoes it would be heated over a fire to make it pliable for shaping to the canoe frame. A pioneer species, it readily invades old fields, cleared or burnt-over land and creates conditions suitable for other woodland trees to become established. Since it is relatively short-lived and intolerant of shade, it is eventually out-competed by these trees. A tar-oil is obtained from the white bark in spring. It has fungicidal properties and is also used as an insect repellent. It makes a good shoe polish. Another report says that an essential oil is obtained from the bark and this, called ‘Russian Leather’ has been used as a perfume. A glue is made from the sap. Cordage can be made from the fibres of the inner bark. This inner bark can also be separated into thin layers and used as a substitute for oiled paper. A decoction of the inner bark is used to preserve cordage, it is rich in tannin. The bark contains up to 16% tannin. A brown dye is obtained from the inner bark. An oil similar to Wintergreen oil (obtained from Gaultheria procumbens) is obtained from the inner bark. It is used medicinally and also makes a refreshing tea. The young branches are very flexible and are used to make whisks, besoms etc. They are also used in thatching and to make wattles. The leaves are a good addition to the compost heap, improving fermentation. A black paint is obtained from the soot of the plant[61]. A high quality charcoal is obtained from the bark. It is used by artists, painters etc. Wood – soft, light, durable. It is used for a wide range of purposes including furniture, tool handles, carving, toys etc. It is a source of charcoal that is used by artists and is also pulped and used for making paper.

Known Hazards: The aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in birch tar are irritating to the skin. Do not use in patients with oedema or with poor kidney or heart functions.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resourcs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_pubescens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+pubescens

Betula populifolia

Botanical Name: Betula populifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betula
Species: B. populifolia

Synonyms: Betula acuminata, Betula cuspidata Schrad. ex Regel

Common Name: Gray Birch

Habitat: Betula populifolia is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Virginia and west to Indiana. It is found on the margins of swamps and ponds, it also commonly grows in dry sandy or gravelly barren soils, growing well in poor almost sterile soils.

Description:
Betula populifolia is a deciduous Tree growing quickly to 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 inch trunk diameter, with an irregular open crown of slender branches. The tree often has multiple trunks branching off of an old stump. The leaves are 5-7.5 cm long by 4–6 cm wide, alternately arranged, ovate, and tapering to an elongated tip. They are dark green and glabrous above and paler below, with a coarsely serrated margin. The bark is chalky to grayish white with black triangular patches where branch meets trunk. It is most easily confused for the paper birch (Betula papyrifera) by means of its bark; it is smooth and thin but does not readily exfoliate like paper birch does.It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. Bloom Color is brown. It’s form is Pyramidal, Upright or erect. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 5–8 cm long, the male catkins pendulous and the female catkins erect. The fruit, maturing in autumn, is composed of many tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Specimen. Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position. Tolerates most soils doing well on poor ones and on heavy clays. A fast growing tree, though it rarely lives longer than 50 years. It is a pioneer species of abandoned fields, burnt-over lands, cleared woodlands etc. A fairly wind-tolerant plant, but it is shallow-rooted and older trees are often uprooted by winds and heavy snow in the wild. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus, especially with B. papyrifera. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:
Inner bark – cooked or dried and ground into a meal. The meal can be used as a thickener in soups etc, or be added to flour when making bread, biscuits etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap – sweet. Harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. The flow is best on warm days that follow frosty nights. The sap is drunk as a sweet beverage or it can be fermented to make birch beer or vinegar. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”.
Medicinal Uses:
The bark is astringent. a decoction has been used to treat bleeding piles. Scrapings of the inner bark have been used to treat swellings in infected cuts. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Betula species for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism .

Other Uses:
Charcoal; Pioneer; Wood.
A pioneer species, readily invading old fields, burnt-over or cleared land and providing suitable conditions for other woodland trees to become established. It is an excellent crop for very poor soils, where it grows rapidly and affords protection to the seedlings of more valuable and slower-growing trees. Since this species is short-lived and not very shade tolerant, it is eventually out-competed by these other trees. Wood – close-grained, soft, light, weak, not durable. It weighs 36lb per cubic foot. Unimportant commercially, the wood is used locally for making clothes pegs, spools, pulp, charcoal and quite commonly as a fuel.
Known Hazards: The aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in birch tar are irritating to the skin. Do not use in patients with oedema or with poor kidney or heart functions.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_populifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+populifolia

Betula platyphylla

Botanical Name : Betula platyphylla
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betula
Species: B. platyphylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: Betula alba subsp. tauschii, Betula latifolia, Betula platyphylla var. japonica, Betula verrucosa va

Common Names:White Birch, Asian white birch, Japanese white birch or Siberian silver birch

Habitat: Betula platyphylla is native to E. Asia – northern China, Japan, Korea, Siberia. It grows on highlands, C. and N. Japan.

Description:
Betula platyphylla is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft 7in) at a fast rate.

It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position. Tolerates most soils including poor soils and heavy clays. Fairly wind tolerant. A fast-growing but short-lived tree. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is closely related to B. pendula. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:
Inner bark – cooked. Rich in starch. It can be dried and ground into a meal and used as a thickener in soups etc or mixed with flour for making bread, biscuits etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap. Used for making a vinegar.
Medicinal Uses:
The bark of the sub-species Betula platyphylla japonica is often used medicinally in Korea. It contains several medically active constituents including triterpenoids and flavonoids and is antifungal, anti-inflammatory and tonic. It is used in the treatment of conditions such as internal diseases and inflammation. The root bark, and other parts of the plant, show anticancer activity. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Betula species for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism.

Known Hazards: The aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in birch tar are irritating to the skin. Do not use in patients with oedema or with poor kidney or heart functions.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_platyphylla
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+platyphylla

Betula papyrifera

Botanical Name: Betula papyrifera
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betula
Species: B. papyrifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: Betula alba var. papyrifera, Betula lenta var. papyrifera

Common Names: Paper Birch, Mountain paper birch, Kenai birch, white birch and canoe birch

Habitat: Betula papyrifera is native to Northern N. America to Greenland. It grows in woods, usually on slopes, edges of ponds, streams and swamps etc. Found in a wide range of soil conditions, but the best specimens are found in well-drained sandy-loam soils.
Description:
Betula papyrifera is a medium-sized deciduous tree typically reaching 20 metres (66 ft) tall, and exceptionally to 130 feet (40 m) with a trunk up to 30 inches (0.76 m) diameter. Within forests it is often grows with a single trunk but when grown as a landscape tree it may develop multiple trunks or branch close to the ground.

Paper birch is a typically short lived species. It handles heat and humidity poorly and may only live 30 years in zones six and up, while trees in colder-climate regions can grow over 100 years. B. papyrifera will grow on many soil types, from steep rocky outcrops to flat muskegs of the boreal forest. Best growth occurs on deeper, well drained to dry soils depending on the location.

In older trees the bark is white, commonly brightly so, flaking in fine horizontal strips to reveal a pinkish or salmon colored inner bark. It is often with small black marks and scars. In individuals younger than five years, the bark appears a brown red color with white lenticels, making the tree much harder to distinguish from other birches. The bark is highly weather-resistant. The bark has a high oil content and this gives it its waterproof and weather resistant characteristics. Often, the wood of a downed paper birch will rot away leaving the hollow bark intact.

* The leaves are dark green and smooth on the upper surface, the lower surface is often pubescent on the veins. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem, oval to triangular in shape, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and about 2/3 as wide. The leaf is rounded at the base and tapering to an acutely pointed tip. The leaves have a doubly serrate margin with relatively sharp teeth. Each leaf has a petiole ~2.5 cm (1 in) long which connects it to the stems.

* The fall color is a bright yellow color which contributes to the bright colors within the northern deciduous forest.
* The leaf buds are conical and small and green-colored with brown edges.
* The stems are a reddish brown color and may be somewhat hairy when young.

* The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, the female flowers are greenish and 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long growing from the tips of twigs. The male (staminate) flowers are 2–4 inches (5.1–10.2 cm) long and a brownish color. It flowers from mid-April to June depending on location.Paper birch is monoicous meaning that one plant has both male and female flowers.

* The fruit matures in the fall. The mature fruit is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts. They drop between September and spring. At 15 years of age the tree will start producing seeds but will be in peak seed production between 40–70 years. The seed production is irregular with a heavy seed crops being produced typically every other year and with at least some seeds being produced every year. In average seed years, 1 million seeds/acre are produced but in bumper years 35 million/acre may be produced. The seeds are light and blow in the wind to new areas, they may also blow along the surface of the snow.

* The roots are generally shallow and occupy the upper 24 inches (61 cm) of the soil and do not form taproots. High winds are more likely to break the trunk than to uproot the tree.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position. Tolerates most soils including poor soils and heavy clays. Fairly wind tolerant. This species is very unhappy on our windy site in Cornwall. A fast-growing but short-lived species. It is often a pioneer species of areas ravaged by fire. The trunk and branches are easily killed by fire, though the tree usually regenerates from the roots. It hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species was an exceedingly important tree for the Indians – they utilized it for a very wide range of applications and it was a central item in their economy. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:
Inner bark – raw or cooked. Best in the spring. The inner bark can also be dried and ground into a meal and used as a thickener in soups or be added to flour and used in making bread, biscuits etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. Harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. The flow is best on warm sunny days following a hard frost. The sap usually runs freely, but the sugar content is lower than in the sugar maples. A pleasant sweet drink, it can also be concentrated into a syrup or sugar by boiling off much of the water. The sap can also be fermented to make birch beer or vinegar. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”[269]. Very young leaves, shoots and catkins – raw or cooked. A tea is made from the young leaves and also from the root bark.
Medicinal Uses:
Paper birch was often employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who used it especially to treat skin problems. It is little used in modern herbalism. The bark is antirheumatic, astringent, lithontripic, salve and sedative. The dried and powdered bark has been used to treat nappy rash in babies and various other skin rashes. A poultice of the thin outer bark has been used as a bandage on burns. A decoction of the inner bark has been used as a wash on rashes and other skin sores. Taken internally, the decoction has been used to treat dysentery and various diseases of the blood. The bark has been used to make casts for broken limbs. A soft material such as a cloth is placed next to the skin over the broken bone. Birch bark is then tied over the cloth and is gently heated until it shrinks to fit the limb. A decoction of the wood has been used to induce sweating and to ensure an adequate supply of milk in a nursing mother. A decoction of both the wood and the bark has been used to treat female ailments. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Betula species for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism.

Other Uses :
Dye; Fuel; Hair; Miscellany; Paper; Pioneer; Waterproofing; Wood.

The thin outer bark is used to make drinking vessels, canoe skins, roofing tiles, buckets etc. This material was very widely used by various native North American Indian tribes, it is waterproof, durable, tough and resinous. Only the thin outer bark is removed, this does not kill the tree. It is most easily removed in late spring to early summer. The outer bark has also been used as emergency sun-glasses in order to prevent snow-blindness. A strip of bark 4 – 5cm wide is placed over the eyes, the natural openings (lenticels) in the bark serving as apertures for the eyes. A brown to red dye can be made from the inner bark. A pioneer species, it rapidly invades deforested areas (such as after a forest fire or logging) and creates suitable conditions for other woodland trees to follow. Because it cannot grow or reproduce very successfully in the shade it is eventually out-competed by the other woodland trees. The tree has an extensive root system and can be planted to control banks from erosion. The bark is a good tinder. An infusion of the leaves is used as a hair shampoo, it is effective against dandruff. The thin outer bark can be used as a paper substitute. It is carefully peeled off the tree and used as it is. A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and another from the heartwood, these are used in making paper[189]. The heartwood fibre is 0.8 – 2.7mm long, that from the bark is probably longer. The branches of the tree can be harvested in spring or summer, the leaves and outer bark are removed, the branches are steamed and the fibres stripped off. Wood – strong, hard, light, very close grained, elastic, not durable. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot and is used for turnery, veneer, pulp etc. It is also used as a fuel. It splits easily and gives off considerable heat even when green, but tends to quickly coat chimneys with a layer of tar.
Known Hazards : The aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in birch tar are irritating to the skin. Do not use in patients with oedema or with poor kidney or heart functions.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_papyrifera
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+papyrifera