Silver birch

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Find out more about the silver birch tree below. 

Silver birch

silver birch tree in the meadows

Scientific name: Betula pendula

Family: Betulaceae

What3Words location: violin.badly.puns

Origin: native

Maximum height: 30 metres

Lives for: up to 80 years, but usually less

Birch trees are a symbol of renewal, partly because they are often one of the first trees to colonise new ground. The Celts used bundles of birch twigs to drive out the spirits of the old year and birch brooms to cleanse spaces or people. Druids collected birch sap to make syrups and wine that were drunk to celebrate the spring equinox. Birch trees are associated with specific fungi, including fly agaric, which has a bright red cap with white spots and is highly toxic.