The curly birch is a variant of the silver birch with a peculiar wood texture. It is extremely variable in terms of growth form: it may stand at a medium height or, more often, be a stocky, short tree with a curved or straight trunk and a crown reminiscent of an apple tree. Sometimes, it might also occur as a shrub or shrub-like tree. A particular characteristic feature is the appearance of knot-like thickenings or lumps of various shapes on the curly birch’s trunk. The leaves, fruits, and shoots are similar to those of the silver birch. The curly birch is slow-growing, light-loving, and undemanding in terms of soil fertility.
It is widely spread in the Baltic Sea region, mostly in Karelia. Within the area of growth, the distribution is mosaic. It grows as single trees or groups of trees on poor soils. In Estonia, it occurs mainly on the western islands. The total area of cultivated trees of our country reaches several thousand hectares.
The stiff, heavy, and fibrous wood of the curly birch is of texture of wavelike pattern reminiscent of flames. The grooved wood surface beneath the bark is also unique. The beautifully patterned and expensive logs are used in the furniture and vehicle industry as well as in carpentry, and the wood from the branches is used to create jewellery and souvenirs. Due to its peculiar shape, the curly birch is a beloved ornamental tree in home gardens.