30. Weeping European White Birch

(Betula pendula 'Tristis')

Other Common Name: Silver Birch

Family: Betulaceae

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On the lawn north of the Music building, 40 feet (12.2 meters) from an eastern white pine, is a Weeping European White Birch. This fine tree drips its slender twigs making a fountain of foliage. Like Scots Pine, this birch is a denizen of northern Europe, and is widely familiar because of its bark. It is easily distinguished from Paper Birch by the darker color and rougher texture of the bark. This individual is infested with black branch galls of dormant buds. It is so common locally that many Seattleites may think it is native here.

The wood of this birch is soft, light, and durable making it useful for a range of purposes. A high quality charcoal made from the bark is often used by artists. The leaves of this tree are a good addition to a compost heap because they improve fermentation. The sap is used to make glue and a brown dye is obtained from the inner bark. A tar-oil can be obtained from the bark in the spring. It fungicidal properties and is used as an insect repellent.

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