|"Is this all real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
The topic of this article is of a real-life subject that has been mentioned "in-universe" in a canon source. The Harry Potter Wiki is written from the perspective that all information presented in canon is true (e.g., Hogwarts really existed), and, as such, details contained in this article may differ from real world facts.
Birch (genus Betula), is a broad-leaved 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.
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 form of corporal punishment with a birch rod, typically applied to the recipient's bare buttocks, although occasionally to the back and/or shoulders. The practise of "birching" aligns perfectly with the actions of the only known owner of a birch wand, Dolores Umbridge.
- Another possible owner of a birch wand is a previous headmistress of Hogwarts, whom Harry Potter described as "gimlet-eyed". He thought her wand looked unusually thick and not unlike a birch rod. Her offer to "persuade" Phineas Nigellus Black with her wand also suits the practise of birching.