ETYM Old Eng. birche, birk, AS. birce, beorc; akin to Icel. björk, Swed. björk, Dan. birk, Dutch berk, Old High Germ. piricha, Mid. High Germ. birche, birke, German birke, Russ. bereza, Pol. brzoza, Serv. breza, Skr. bhűrja. Related to Birk.
(Irregular plural: birches).
1. Any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula having a thin peeling bark; SYN. birch tree.
2. Bundle of birch twigs used to hit people as punishment; SYN. birch rod.
3. Hard close-grained wood of any of various birch trees; used especially in furniture and interior finishes and plywood.
Any tree of the genus Betula, including about 40 species found in cool temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. Birches grow rapidly, and their hard, beautiful wood is used for veneers and cabinet work.
Paper birch B. papyrifera is native to the N half of North America.