Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is very popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens.
Common Beech provides year round colour as its leaves turn brown in autumn and most leaves will remain on the tree until spring. They are often planted as hedges.
Common Beech (also known as European Beech) is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 49 metres tall and 3 metres trunk diameter, though more typically 25-35 metres tall and up to 1.5 metres trunk diameter.
It has an average lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years.
The appearance varies according to its habitat. In forest conditions it tends to have a long, slender light-gray trunk with a narrow crown and erect branches. When planted on its own with good side light the trunk is short with a large and widely spreading crown with very long branches.
Common Beech makes perfect hedging / windbreaks.
The bark is smooth and grey and a stately domed crown of branches that arch out and over, often to the ground.
Leaves are glossy, fresh, light green in spring then dark green in summer. In autumn the leaves turn to an orange / copper colour and, when not exposed to string wind, they tend to remain on the tree for much of the winter.
Common Beech will grow on almost any well-drained soil, except heavy clay. They thrive just about anywhere other than exposed and coastal locations.
The wood of the European Beech is used in the manufacture of numerous objects and implements. Its fine and short grain makes it an easy wood to work. It has an excellent finish and is resistant to compression and splitting.
It is particularly well suited for minor carpentry, particularly furniture. From chairs to parquetry (flooring) and staircases, the European Beech can do almost anything other than heavy structural support, so long as it is not left outdoors. Its hardness make it ideal for making wooden mallets and workbench tops.
Mythology and symbolism
Beech is associated with femininity and is often considered the queen of British trees, where oak is the king.
In Celtic mythology, Fagus was the god of beech trees. It was thought to have medicinal properties – beech leaves were used to relieve swellings. Forked beech twigs are also traditionally used for divining.
DISCLAMER : Any uses for trees or tree extracts. whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.CO.UK so please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.
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