Basic Information



Species                       : Betula utilis D.Don.

Local Name                : Bhoj patra, Leksor(Nep), Sanglee kung (Lep)

Synonym                     : B. bhojpattra Wall.

Family                         : Betulaceae

Habitat                       : A small deciduous tree or shrub. This is the common birch of the higher levels of the

                                     inner Himalayas chiefly at 3,000- 4,200 m but sometimes descending sporadically

                                                                                                 as low as1,800 m. At the higher elevation it is gregarious, occurring either in pure

                                                                                                 masses, often with an under growth of Rhododendron campanulatum or associated

                                                                                                 with the Indian Silver- fir, Abies spectabilis Spach and sometimes with juniper.

                                                                                                 Birch forests occur on open exposed tracts which are under snow throughout the

                                                                                                 greater part of winter.

Distribution                : Distributed in temperate region at the elevation of 7000- 14000 ft.

Sikkim                         : Yumthang

Out side                      : Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Japan, Afganisthan.

Morphological information

A moderate sized tree, up to 19.8 m in height and shedding leaves in the Spring.  Bark lustrous, white or reddish-white, the outer portion consisting of thin papery layers that peel off in broad horizontal rolls.  Wood moderately hard, tough, even-grained, white with a pinkish tings.  Leaves acute elliptic, irregularly serrate, 5,0-7,5 cm long; veins in 4-12 pairs.  Flowers in pendulous spikes. Seeds thin, wined.

Flowering            : April-June

Fruiting               : July- October

History               :

Parts                  : Bark.

Status                : Endangered.


The bark contains betulin, lupeol, loeanolic acid, acetyloleanolic acid, betullic acid, lupenone, sitosterol, methyl betulonate, methyl betulate and a new triterpenoid, Karachic acid [C32 H48 05,m.p 260-61 degree, (a) D + 79 degree (pyridine), (a)D + 83 degree (CHCL3)]  Leucocyanidlin and polymeric leucoanthocyanidins are also reported to be present.


The plant is used as triclosha where the bark is used in convulsions, bronchitis, disease of the blood and the ear, leprosy.


The bark is used for earache.



The decoction of the bark is used as a wash in gonorrhoea and poisoned wounds.  The infusion of the bark is used in the form of decoction for jaundice and bilious fevers.  The bark containing betulin is reported to possess anti-fertility activity.



1. Anonymous.  The wealth of India (Vol.1 A).  Publications and Informaiton Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi, 148.  2. Bhujel, R.B. (1996).  Studies on Dicotyledonous Flora of Darjeeling District. Unpublished Ph. D Thesis University of North Bengal.  824.  3. Chatterjee Asima, Satyesh  Chandra Pakrashi (1997).  The Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants.  National Institute of Sciences Communication,  New Delhi.  34-35.  4. Kirtikar, K.R. and B.D. Basu (1980).  Indian Medicinal Plants (Vol. II).  Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh,  Dehradun.  2355-2356.  5. Progress Report of the Project "Studies on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim" (1998-2001). State Council of Science and Technology for Sikkim.