genus of the birches, from Latin betula "birch," from Gaulish betu- "bitumen" (cf. Middle Irish beithe "box tree," Welsh bedwen "birch tree"). According to Pliny, so called because the Gauls extracted tar from birches. Birch tar is still sold as an analgesic and stimulant and made into birch beer by the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for betula

Historical Examples of betula

  • It has been compared with a European species of birch, the Betula pendula.

    American Forest Trees

    Henry H. Gibson

  • Betula papyracea (canoe birch), prevailing everywhere and about Bangor.

    The Maine Woods

    Henry David Thoreau

  • The common Birch (Betula alba) is an exceedingly graceful tree.

  • In the immediate vicinity are found only Betula lutea and Betula pumila.

    Trees of Indiana

    Charles Clemon Deam

  • Betula papyrifera is found about a mile distant to the south.

    Trees of Indiana

    Charles Clemon Deam