The Birch Tree

The Birch Tree

Dan Wowak June 29, 2023

“The Birch Tree”
written by Jody Klocko

Native to my area of the eastern woodlands is yellow birch, Paper Birch, River Birch, Black Sweet Birch, and Gray Birch.

This is the tree, speaking mainly about the Birch Family, is the perfect host to three useful mushrooms or fungi that include:

Hoof (tinder) Fungus, Chaga and Birch Polypore

If you ever wonder what these abstract looking things growing out of Birch trees, they are a great invaluable resource for your bushcraft kit.

If you’re in a survival situation, The Birch Tree Provides us with having many uses, for food, the buds can be dried and ground into flour; the inner bark below the outer surface, along with young branches can be boiled, sautéed, or fried.

Stropping a knife with the birch polypore, making shelter, resinous birch tar, healing salves, baskets.

The outer bark, and peelings of the tree when soak with pouring rain, Will ignite with a flame source.

Yellow Birch provides edible syrup that can be tapped out late winter.

Chaga provides us with a powerful tea for medicinal benefits.

Hoof Fungus

Hoof Fungus Look abstract and remind me of a horse or elephants hoof. So by nature they grow from decaying and dead trees, as a decomposer of wood and trees. Mainly used when very dry to carry fire, or tinder.


Chaga often looks similar to tree rot, and the best way to tell if you really have chaga or not the outside of chaga looks like burnt charcoal and the inside will be bright Orange Gold. Chaga uses are impactful for medicinal uses, but also make a great tinder source to keep in your haversack, brewed as tea.

Birch Polypore

The Birch polypore are ear shaped usually ivory to brown color, corky or rubbery in texture.

Similar to having many health benefits, like chaga, anti-viral, and boost immunity. Good for tinctures and teas (bitter).

Growing Season

The growing season for Hoof Fungus, Chagas and Birch Polypore is late summer into autumn well into the winter time for new growth fungus. The Older ones you will find more dried out during dry summer months. 

Usually I let the new growing fungus alone, and search for older ones, that are dryer, and there get hard as rock, even very hard to cut with a knife. After you have collected a few hoof fungus, chaga or birch Polypore’s, its best to let them dry out for a few weeks or months to  really allow and extract any remaining moister deep inside of the fungus. Once they have had time to really dry, they will not rot or get buggy, so I store them in a cool dry place and do not wrap or store in air tight container. Remember to be respectful and only harvest what you need, the same tree will host more many years to come.

Nature’s Bug Repellent

Smoldering Dry Birch polypore and as well as the Hoof fungus work great at maintaining the bugs away, with a long burn time.