The Scottish Government is considering whether Scotland should have its own national tree, and if so, what species should be chosen.
The iconic Scots pine is an obvious choice for this accolade but there are other candidates. We’ve invited advocates for six species to give the case for their tree.
In the third of our series of guest blogs writer Gerry Loose, Poet in Residence at Dawyck Botanic Gardens and author of Printed on Water, New and Selected Poems, explains why the silver birch should be Scotland’s National Tree.
“The natural choice for Scotland’s national tree is obvious! More than 300 other species will support me in this claim. The intrinsic beauty, elegance and grace of the birch tree is unsurpassed.
It’s easy to recognise – every child can recognise it silvery trunk.
It’s a great pioneer, moving onto fire-damaged land and bings in order that others can follow; welcoming like all Scots.
The birch tree is a symbol of renewal, stability, and adaptability; surely characteristics that are also true of the Scottish people.
Once, we are told, everything in the highlands was made from it; “they build their houses, make their beds, chairs, tables, dishes, and spoons; construct their mills, make their carts, ploughs, harrows, gates and fences and even manufacture ropes of it . . . The branches are employed as fuel in the distillation of whisky; the spray is used for smoking hams and herrings . . . the bark is used for tanning leather, and sometimes instead of candles. The spray is used for thatching homes . . . and makes a good bed”. It could be so again.
Surely it has already assumed its rightful place as the National Tree of Scotland: no other tree is so welcoming, so useful, so graceful and so well-known.”
How do you feel about birch as Scotland’s national tree? You can have your say in the public consultation until 3rd December, and please do leave a comment below.
We’ll be posting more guest blogs featuring other candidates every Friday for the next few weeks…
Rory Syme, PR and Communications Officer Woodland Trust Scotland