From Middle English birche, birk, from Old English birce, bierce, from Proto-Germanic *birkijǭ (compare West Frisian bjirk, German Birke), variant of *berkō (compare Dutch berk, Swedish björk), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰérHǵos (compare Lithuanian béržas, Czech bříza, Ossetic bærz(æ)).
birch (plural birches)
- any of various trees of the genus Betula, native to countries in the northern hemisphere.
- a hard wood taken from the birch tree, typically used to make furniture.
- a stick, rod or bundle of twigs made from birch wood, used for punishment.
- A birch-bark canoe.
Derived terms 
- to punish with a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.
- to punish as though one were using a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.