Monday, September 30, 2013

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech


General Information
Common Name European Beech
Scientific Name Fagus sylvatica
Sun Tolerance Full Sun
Height 25–35 m (80–115 ft)
Spread up to 15 m (up to 50 ft)
Growth Rate Moderate 
Bloom Time Spring
Color Green
Flower Color Green
Type Tree
Native Europe, western Asia
Classification
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Hamamelididae
Order Fagales
Family Fagaceae – Beech family
Genus Fagus L. – beech
Species F. sylvatica

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech
European Beech Scientific name is Fagus sylvatica is one of the best known trees in Europe. It is seen particularly on chalk and limestone formations such as the Cotswold’s, Chilterns and Downs. It is graceful tall tree, reaching heights of up to 49 m (160 ft) tall and 3 m (10 ft) trunk diameter, sometimes called 'The Lady of the Woods'. The thick shade which it sheds usually keeps the forest floor bereft of undergrowth. The mature, almost mono-culture beech wood, has a beauty rarely surpassed. It is also a long living tree that has a typical lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years.
The new shoots, grey and transparent, develop into long, thin, zigzag twigs which hold pale brown winter buds, set alternately and long and slender, with papery scales, 5–10 cm long and 3–7 cm broad, with 6-7 veins on each side of the leaf . The leaves are a tender pale green when opening in April, later becoming a rich deep green shade. They are oval, end in a short point and have a wavy margin which with the veins on the underside and the leaf-stalks are at first hairy. In autumn the leaves change to glorious tints of bronze, orange and gold. Trees below a height of about 10 ft retain their spent red-brown leaves throughout winter, but larger trees strew them over the forest floor until they are swept by the wind to lie in deep drifts.
The male catkins are borne in groups of two or three soon after the leaves open, each catkin has a long thin drooping stalk which bears two or three slender scale leaves and ends in a tassel of about fifteen greenish flowers. The female catkins are small, green, and lie close to the stem. At first the fruit is an egg-shaped pointed green husk, clad in soft green hairs. In the autumn the husks turn brown, and after splitting into four lobes to release one or two triangular, smooth shining brown seeds (‘beech nuts’), they often persist on the tree until the following spring. Good ‘mast years’ occur infrequently. The nuts provide, with acorns, pannage for pigs.
Fagus sylvatica – European Beech
The thin bark is of a typical bright silver-grey or metallic color and remains smooth throughout the tree’s life. In some parts of the country the naked circular columnar trunks have in part almost a purplish sheen. In outline Beech is large, upright, with a crown comprising a spreading network of fine branches. Its base is almost always but-tressed. The wood is hard and strong, of a bright buff color with mid-brown flecks (‘pith rays’). Among its chief uses are furniture and turnery goods such as tool handles, bowls and spoons.
Beech freely regenerates from fallen seed. It is usually planted pure or as groups in a matrix of other trees or as an underpants. It has a high amenity value.

Beeches with coppery red or deep purple foliage are frequently seen. The Copper Beech, variety purpurea (altropunicea), is a natural ‘spot’ Discovered in the eighteenth century. The rich purplish-brown color of its leaves masks their green chlorophyll within but they function normally. The tree is usually grafted onto stock of the common Beech but will also grow from seed.



Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Leaves

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Leaves

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Leaves

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Flowers

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Flowers

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Nut

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Nuts

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech : Nuts

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

Fagus sylvatica – European Beech

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