Birch bark


"Birch bark has many qualities that account for the steadfast attention it drew from ancient artisans. It has long been known that birch bark both resists moisture and possesses antiseptic qualities. Birch bark cells contain a fatty wax acid, suberin. This substance makes the bark flexible, waterproof, and resistant to moderate acid and oils. Suberin does not dissolve in water or alcohol. Birch contains a high percentage of another substance, betulinol, making it antiseptic and resistant to microorganisms. The latter quality makes it extremely useful for storing food and other perishable products.(Page 6) 

"The trunk of the birch tree is made up of the bark, the cambium, and wood pulp. Birch bark is a dense bark, consisting of many fine layers, like paper..."(page 22)


"Over the centuries, birch bark creative arts and crafts developed and thrived in such far-flung parts of the world as China, Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and North America( the United States and Canada)." (Page 6)

"... bark is used for shelters , containers, boat shells, paper, glue, and medical antiseptics, and its sap for a sweetener and beer. The specific fungus that grows on the tree is used as a fire starter and as felt for clothing. Birch bark has a natural resistance to fungus. It has been employed to treat sore throats, frostbite, abrasions, and cuts to the skin...In addition, chewing birch bark helps maintain dental health, because birch bark contains xylitol, a substance that suppresses the growth of the harmful bacteria that causes cavities. (Page 1)


"...birch has remained the most important tree for the peoples of the decidious forests in northern Europe, Scandinavia, North America, Siberia and those who live in the subpolar regions of Europe and Asia." (Page 1)

"The timing of the birch-bark harvest is important, however. It is best to remove it from the tree at the most favorable time of the year, when the tree itself "gives up" the outer bark. This period begins at the end of May and lasts about a month, but it is not necessarily the same year after year." (Page 22-23)

Sorce:Yarish, V. Hoppe, F. Widess, J. Plaited Basketry with Birch Bark. 2009