THE BIRCH TREES OVERVIEW

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE - OVERVIEW

A popular tree throughout Caelereth, the Birch Tree is known mainly for its usually thin bark, which, in some subspecies, can be used for paper. The leaves are ovate shaped and the trees themselves can be found in colors ranging from white and gray to yellow and red. The trees are also marked for their elegant, slender figure.

The White Birch
Image description: The popular white birch tree. Picture made by Fluffy Ramblers.

Appearance. The Birch Trees tend to vary from region to region. However, these trees tend to be slender, usually growing no more than a fore in diameters. The bark of this tree is commonly thought of as being white or grayish white, but also comes in yellowish or dark gray. The bark of Birch Trees tends to be easily peeled off in horizontal layers as thin as parchment, and indeed they can be used for just such a purpose. The Birch Tree varies in size but can grow up to about 24 peds high, though some subspecies of Birch will only grow about 12 peds high. These trees have slender, often delicate branches and thus are not suitable for carrying nests of birds, though many small finches may find a pleasant seat among their leaves.

The leaves of the Birch are usually ovate, or egg-shaped, though some subspecies have more triangular-shaped leaves. These leaves, which vary from a grayish green to a deep green and even a yellowish green will fall when the weather turns cold. During this time, the closed male catkins will appear. Why they are formed so early, no one really knows, but researchers believe it is because the male catkins take longer to form completely than the female ones, which appear in spring. Though the tassel-like catkin is composed of flowers, few actually consider them flowers, as the petals tend to be a grayish or yellowish green. In the summer, cones are formed containing Birch nutlets. These cones vary in size, sometimes appearing as an egg-shape while others have a thinner, more elongated shape. Their color ranged from a deep to tan-brown.
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Territory. The Birch Tree can be found nearly everywhere, growing in clusters or pairs. They are found in most every forest on the Sarvonian continent, though they are found in the greatest population in Southern Sarvonia and parts of Nybelmar due to their affinity for warm and humidity (in most subspecies). Return to the top

Usages. Birch Tree bark is a common parchment material. Sometimes it may be treated for a better color or so that it lasts longer or is not as frail. The catkin of the Birch Tree, when they’re in bloom, are often harvested and dried and used to scent a room, or are burned for a sweet aroma. Birch Trees are known for being excellent firewood as it burns slow. This tree can also sometimes be used to make a beer called "birch beer." Also, some subspecies have sap that is sterile and fresh enough to be used as a water source during times of drought. Birch water has a slightly sweet taste to it. Return to the top

A Kuglim Ura with a piece of birch wood
View picture in full size Image description. A young male of the Kuglimz'Ura clan about to toss another log of birch wood on the fire. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Reproduction. The male catkins appear in autumn, when it begins getting cold. Researchers are puzzled over why, but many have come to the conclusion that the male catkin simply requires more time to form than the female catkin, which appears in spring. During spring, the tassel-like catkin will produce yellowish or grayish green flowers that produce pollen of an aromatic scent, though some are allergic to the pollen. The pollen tends to travel by way of wind as malise and other insects are not attracted to the flowers, perhaps because of their dull coloring.

The male catkins will call away while the female catkins will form into cones in the summer. These cones vary from a deep brown to a tan, though they may also have a reddish color to them. During late summer, the cones will open and in autumn, the cones will fall, spreading their nutlets across the ground. It may take a few years before a Birch Tree reaches adulthood.
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Myth/Lore. All the trees in the Birch family are said to possess or host the legendary dryads - benevolent nature spirits that sometimes manifest themselves in the form of lovely females. The Birch's slender form, its delicately draping branches, and the somniferous rustle of its leaves certainly all contributes to its feminine appearance. Peasants of Southern Santharia and Nybelmar tell the story of the Russet Birchmaid, who will walk out of her tree on the first day of every month to search for human lovers.
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Overview. The following kinds of Birch Trees are known in Caelereth:
 

BIRCH, THE BLACK
The Black Birch is a rather dark tree, with bark that tends to be a deep black and adorned with white horizontal lines that appear like scars. The leaves are also a dark green or dark grayish-green and are larger than other birches. The tree is typically extremely sturdy and the wood is hard and close-grained. [READ MORE] Return to the top

BIRCH, THE MITHRIL
The Mithril Birch is perhaps the most elegant out of all Birch Trees. It has a shorter appearance than most other species, but also slender, sloping branches upon which cones dangle like precious ornaments. They have grayish-white bark adorned with V-shapes markings. The White Birch can be found in forests all over Northern Sarvonia, though they flourish in the climates of the Shadowlands and the Shaded Forest. [READ MORE] Return to the top

BIRCH, THE RED (RIVER BIRCH)
The Red Birch, also called the River Birch, grows along rivers and streams in Southern Santharia. They use the constantly moving water to spread their nutlets. These birches tend to have a reddish trunk that is often smooth when the shed bark is pulled away. They have very smooth trunks and leaves with a more pointed base to them. Due to their hauntingly blood-red coloration, many consider these trees to symbolize sorrow from death and misfortune. [READ MORE] Return to the top

BIRCH, THE WHITE
The White Birch is popular for it’s paper-like bark, which can be peeled off in strips thin and light enough to allow writing. Like most birches, their leaves are ovate-shaped and they have tall, elegant trunks. They tend to prefer the cool climates in Northern Sarvonia, though they can be found in and around the Tandala Highlands, along the Northern Santharian Border.
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BIRCH, THE YELLOW (BRONZE BIRCH)

The Yellow Birch, also commonly called the Bronze Birch, is identifiable by its yellowish or dark-gray bark, which often has the appearance of being ragged. Though it tends to prefer mid Sarvonia as its habitat, mainly residing in the Hovel Frond and in the southern Shadowlands, it can also be found as far south as the Bolder forest and the northern Thaelon. It is commonly used for furniture and paper and has a fresh, wintergreen scent. [READ MORE] Return to the top
 

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