Friday, October 14, 2011

Paper Birch {betula papyrifera}

My husband loves Birch Trees. There are many species of Birch Trees, but the one we see here, throughout BC is the Paper Birch, also known as Canoe Birch, Silver Birch or White Birch. 'Papyrifera' means "paper bearing" and refers to the bark.

The Paper Birch grows throughout BC and it typically grows at higher elevations, in floodplains, near avalanche tracks, and in swamps and bogs. It is not usually found on the Gulf Islands or near the ocean.

It's the bark that really gets my attention. It is paper thin, and is white to reddish-brown or copper coloured. It feels smooth, and is characterized by brown horizontal lines. The inner bark is exposed when the bark peels off and the peeled bark gradually turns black.

I painted my first Birch Tree painting above in 2008 - my second painting ever - for my husband. I just completed Birch Tree, number 2 below, a few weeks ago. The paintings are both very different, but the subject matter is obviously the same. My husband asked me if he can trade in the original and take the new one! ~ Sharka

"The birch begins to crack its outer sheath
Of baby green and show the white beneath...." Robert Frost

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