Name: Silver Birch
Scientific name: Betula pendula
Irish name: Beith gheal
Leaf/Needle: Deciduous leaf/Simple leaf
Height: 30 meters
Flowering: April to May
Seed dispersal: Wind
Value to wildlife: High
Firewood, brooms. Birch was the favoured stick for corporal punishment!
In anger St Patrick through a hand bell into a bush, a birch tree grew there lifting the bell. After being found again the bell was called the Bethachán or Betullanum- “the little birch of iron”.
Ogham letter Beith (Birch) B
1st consonant of the Ogham alphabet
3rd month of the Ogham tree calendar
Classification in Early Irish law:
Aithig fedo (Commoner of the wood) Penalty for cutting one down, one milk cow!