Betula

Word Origin & History

Betula
genus of the birches, from L. betula "birch," from Gaul. betu- "bitumen" (cf. M.Ir. 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
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