Lāʻau Lāpaʻau | Modern Research of Birch

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Betula lentaB. papyriferaB. pendula (syn. B. verrucosa), and B. pubescens (syn. B. alba)
Family: Betulaceae

by Josef Brinckmann, Thomas Brendler


The Betulaceae family includes an estimated 150 to 200 species of trees and shrubs,1 and, depending on the author, the Betula genus includes about 30 to 60 of those species. Betula species are deciduous trees or shrubs and are monoecious (they have both male and female catkins, spike-like inflorescences of unisexual flowers). Authorities differ on the precise number of Betula species. This is likely because birches hybridize easily, which confounds species delineation.2

In Europe, the main species used in herbal medicinal products, foods, and beverages are downy birch (B. pubescens) and silver birch (B. pendula), and their hybrids and subspecies. Betula pendula is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to about 25 m (82 ft) and occur more or…

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