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Rayne (Alýr)
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« on: 16 January 2003, 20:37:00 »

NOTE: I really don't want this going up until everything with the other subspecies are worked out! The changes to the subspecies of birch will effects this entry.

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Birch Tree

Overview
A popular tree throughout Sorren, 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.

Appearance
The Birch Trees tends 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.

Territory
The Birch tree can be found nearly everywhere, growing in clusters or pairs. They are found in most every forest on the Sarvonia 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).

Reproduction
The male catkins appear in autumn, when it begins getting cold. Research 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 the produce pollen of a aromatic scent, though some are allergic to the pollen. The pollen tends to travel by way of wind as melise 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 reached adulthood.

Usages
Birch Tree bark is a common parchment material. Sometimes it make 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.

Myth/Lore:
All the trees in the Birch family are said to possess or host the legendary Driads - 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 contribute to its feminine appearance!

Peasants of Northern Santharia and Southern parts of Northern Sarvonia tell the story of the Bronze Birchmaid, who will walk out of her tree on the first day of every month to search for human lovers, while in the Northern Sarvonian regions old wives still firmly believe that a scrap of Mithril Birch bark peeled from the living tree with a mithril blade and pasted into a poultice over the abdomen will heal bellyaches, cramping, nausea, and even ease labour pains. Due to the scarcity of mithril weapons, this belief is rarely put to the test, however...

We can state with certainty about Birch that its wood is useful, its papery bark fascinating, and its graceful shape a pleasure to the eye - as to Driads, or Dryads as the Nybelarian people call them, well, we shall leave that to the taletellers!


Subspecies:

Black Birch: 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 most. The tree is typically extremely sturdy and the wood is hard and close-grained.

Mithril Birch: The Mithril Birch is perhaps the most elegant out of all birch trees. It has a shorter appearance than most other species, but also has 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.


Red 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.

White Birch: The White Birch is popular for its 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 Boarder.

Yellow 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 sends 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 Boulder forest and northern Thaelon. It is commonly used for furniture and paper and has a fresh, wintergreen scent.

Edited by: Rayne Avalotus  at: 3/6/03 7:10:10 am
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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #1 on: 16 January 2003, 21:55:00 »

What kind of wood is good for bows? I know ash, is this another one? *looks for archerfolk*


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« Reply #2 on: 16 January 2003, 22:23:00 »

How thin could we get this bark-parchment, if we were really really careful?


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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #3 on: 17 January 2003, 16:35:00 »

In grains? o.O;; Think of paper. We don't have a Santharian unit small enough!

If birch is used to make bows, I'd be happy to add it in.

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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #4 on: 17 January 2003, 19:40:00 »

I'm not sure. I'll try and dig around on the interent for weapons and see what kind of wood they need.


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SmurfStormcrow
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« Reply #5 on: 17 January 2003, 20:05:00 »

Ash may be a good bow wood. Don't quote me on this, or anything, but its something that I seem to remember.

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« Reply #6 on: 17 January 2003, 20:18:00 »

Yeah, Ash is good, i was watching some Discovery Channel thing. There's another. I don't think it's Birch, but I can check.
*goes to do so*

Yew, ash and Elm were good bow woods, also lemonwood (dagame outside the US) the less knots the better. Though now that I look they say that any solid wood works, So long as it snaps back to original position.
Cedar was a good arrow wood.
I would like to know the reason why, though.


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Edited by: Viresse  at: 1/17/03 2:40:49 am
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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #7 on: 20 January 2003, 17:12:00 »

So is the Birch used for bows or not? o.o;; ::is confused::

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« Reply #8 on: 20 January 2003, 20:13:00 »

I forgot to mention that some people make birch beer - don't have a recipe at the moment, but it could be something you just mention as a possible usage.  Also, birch sap is sterile and faintly sweet and can be used in case of a fresh-water shortage (although it would be an odd situation in pre-industrial Santharia to be short of fresh water!)

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"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #9 on: 20 January 2003, 20:15:00 »

Beer and water. Got it. ^_~;

I'm glad you told me about the water thing! That's definity something to add to the Red Birch entry! ::hugs Mommy-Judith:: Thank you!

Edited by: Rayne Avalotus  at: 1/20/03 2:15:27 am
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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #10 on: 14 February 2003, 17:07:00 »

So what more does this need, Rayne?  Could you perhaps list in this entry the other types of birch as well?  Just a line like:



"The Birch comes in a number of varieties, each with its own distinctive colouration and properties:  the Common, the Mithril, the Golden, and the Red Birch."  (each name can then be a hyperlink to the appropriate entry....)

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"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #11 on: 14 February 2003, 20:42:00 »

Maybe I can put "Subspecies" and then just add in the overview to each tree? o.O; I did that with my kitties.

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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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