Birches are deciduous trees. There are about a hundred different species of birch in Europe, which together form a genus. Birches are easily recognised by their black and white bark. The wood of the birch is light-coloured and has a fine grain. It is flexible and easy to cut. That is why it is often used to make boards.
Most people find birches beautiful, which is why they are often planted in cities. However, more and more people have problems with birch trees: The many pollen from the flowers irritate their eyes, nose and lungs. These people have an allergy, hay fever to be precise. Some people suffer very badly from it.
Birch trees are important for many species of birds because they give them buds and seeds as food. There are also over a hundred species of butterfly caterpillars that like to eat birch leaves. Birches are the third genus of plants in the order of most popular butterfly plants.
The birch is the emblem of Estonia. In Russia, Finland and Poland, the tree is considered a national symbol, something like the "German oak".