Maykainsky birches: oil painting!

You can also come to Pavlodar region to see the rarest plants with your own eyes. One of these relics is an oily birch, the Kazakh name of which gave the name to the village of Maykain in Bayanaul district.

Maykain is known not only for polymetallic ores, but also for the unusual origin of its name. Researchers say that in translation from the Kazakh language, the word "Maykain" (may kayyn) means "oily birch". What is the reason of this fact, if there are no birch groves in the village or near it?

According to local historians, in ancient times, many birches grew here. In the Twenties and Thirties around a small village was birch forest. And there were a lot of these trees in the village. On the first topographic maps of 1876, the area was designated as the Maikain Tract with the hills Big Maikain and Small Maikain. Symbols on the maps indicated large masses of birch.

Pavlodar schoolgirl, a member of the Pavlodar house of geography Maria Polyakova prepared several publications about the birch tree that gave its name to Maikain. She said that back in the Thirties, the first Soviet scientists studied the geological wealth of Kazakhstan, and they were interested in these unusual trees that adapted to grow on the dry brackish soil, to resist the local strong winds.

"Birch trees are able to drink drops of moisture from dry and mixed with salt earth. It was noted that the local birch has a thicker waxy coating on the leaves. Probably, that's why they called the birch oily, - says Masha. - According to rumors, this rare species of birch was going to study the capital's scientists to use them in the economy for growing forests and snow retention strips in arid areas. But these plans were not to be, because the Great Patriotic war began. Unfortunately, during the war and in the post-war period the birch trees were cut down almost completely for heating purposes."

People were long sure that all the species of this relict plant were completely destroyed. But then it turned out that in the early eighties there were about ten birches left at the old hospital in Maykain. But they survived only thanks to the former head physician of the hospital Valentin Vasilyevich Romanov. When they were building a hospital town there, he noticed that the stumps of felled birches had grown. A fence was immediately made around the hospital yard. White-barrelled beauties grew out of the undergrowth. When they began to green the entire territory of the hospital, they found that even the otherwise unpretentious maple in Maikain felt worse than the local oily birch. As it turned out, the local birch has a greater wax (oil) coating on the leaves than other species. This allows it to conserve moisture and less to take it away.

- But other people were not worried in such problems. According to my grandmother and other relatives who lived in Maikain, young trees were constantly cut out for brooms for baths, - says M. Polyakova with sadness. "More than thirty years have passed since then. The old hospital, whose garden fence protected the trees a little, was closed. Birches with great losses endured the Nineties, when there was no heating and water supply in the village. A new College was built on the site of the hospital. According to Mike's online communities, there is one last oil birch left.

Some time ago, the mayor of the village and the district therapist of the local polyclinic confirmed to us that there no rare oily birches left here. The only one tree they say is still standing next to the clinic. The medic led us to the birch tree. We built a simple hole around a single birch tree from the stones. After that, we went to the office of the company "Maykaingold". A General Director of the plant said that there are at least one or two more oily birches in Maikain. We were shown the trees growing in the yard: "You see, we keep them so that the view doesn't disappear completely."

How to get there? Maykain village is located in Bayanaul district, 145 kilometers from the city of Pavlodar. You can get there by car to see the rare birch tree in two hours, first on the A17 road, then after passing the village of Kalkaman, turning left on the P27 road. It will lead to the village.
Buses to the village from Pavlodar run every day, except Saturday, at 19: 00. The cost of an adult ticket is 1000 tenge, and a child ticket is 500 tenge.

Anton Sergeev
Photo from the archive of the Pavlodar house of geography