Birch (genus Betula), is a broadleaved deciduous hardwood tree in the family Betulaceae which also includes alders, hazels and hornbeams and is closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. They are typically rather short-lived pioneer species widespread in the Northern Hemisphere particularly in northern temperate and boreal climates. It can be used as a wand wood. Though Garrick Ollivander himself did not use it, his associate in the Hogsmeade branch was known to sell wands made from birch.
Twigs of either birch or hazel were used in the construction of Firebolt broomsticks depending on the purchaser's personal preference. Birch was known to give more "oomph" in higher ascents, but hazel was useful for hair-trigger steering.
Behind the scenes
- Birching is a corporal punishment with a birch rod used to beat victims on the buttocks, back, and/or shoulders. in the 1860s, birching replaced the use of the cat o' nine tails whip by wealthy classes, who were more familiar with it as they themselves had been punished by birching. It was the most common school and judicial punishment in Europe up to the mid-19th century, when caning gained increasing popularity. According to some accounts, even the legendary sting of the cat o' nine tails was less feared than the birch in certain prisons. In most, if not all cases, birching was primarily reserved for punishing males.
- The use of birchwood as a tool of punishment aligns perfectly with the actions of the only known owner of a Birch wand, Dolores Umbridge.