04
Downy Birtch

Betula pubescens

The name of the birch tree is ancient and is believed to derive from the Sanskrit bhurga, “a tree whose bark is used for writing upon”, and indeed it’s bark can be separated into several fine layers and was used in place of parchment, particularly in medieval Russia.

In Celtic culture, notably in the Hebrides, birch was traditionally synonymous with birth, love and purity, and birch was often placed over cradles to keep the young safe from evil spirits. In legend birch’s qualities of youthfulness and love suggest that it was associated with the Celtic god of love, Aonghus Og. Aonghus was the mac óg – “the young son” – whose beauty was so great that four of his kisses were said to follow him around in the form of birds; and it was Aongus who made a bed for the great warrior Diarmaid and his lover Gráinne out of soft rushes and the leaves of the downy birch – a legend which is said to have inspired the medieval classic Tristan and Isolde.

Also associated with rebirth, perhaps it’s no coincidence that birch was the traditional material for brooms – as we know, “a new broom sweeps clean”.

Downy Birch - Betula pubescens

Discover the 22 Botanicals

apple mint

01

Apple mint

chamomile

02

Chamomile

Creeping thistle flower used in the botanist gin

03

Creeping thistle

Downy Birch

04

Downy Birch

Elder flower

05

Elder

Gorse

06

Gorse (Whin)

Hawthorn

07

Hawthorn

Heather

08

Heather

Juniper

09

Juniper

lady's bedstraw

10

Lady’s bedstraw

Lemon Balm

11

Lemon Balm

meadowsweet

12

Meadowsweet

Mugwort

13

Mugwort

Red clover

14

Red clover

Spear mint

15

Spear mint

Sweet cicely

16

Sweet cicely

Bog Myrtle (Sweet Gale)

17

Bog myrtle – Sweet gale

Tansy

18

Tansy

water mint

19

Water mint

White Clover

20

White clover

Wild thyme

21

Wild Thyme

wood sage

22

Wood sage

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