Fagus grandifolia 2017
American beech trees are deciduous trees native to North America. they can grow to 50 to 70 feet tall. However it usually only grows less than a foot per year. They can live for 300 to 400 years. They're popular for carving initials. They form a wide branching canopy which serves as a highway and home to many birds and animals native to their temperate deciduous habitat.The American beech grows well in the shade so it is often found in lower forest levels. it is not uncommon to find beech trees occupying the canopy and undergrowth of a forest at the same time.
The leaves are simple and serrate with strong secondary veins and occur alternately. They are a dull green color to silvery on the underside which is hairy. These hairs are called Trichomes. They have a papery texture. The Beech is curious though in that it keeps its dead leaves through out the fall and winter to be abscised in the spring (in the Lawreceville area this abscision occers around April and March)and replaced by thin cigar shaped buds. These white Ghost leaves make the Beech easily identifiable in the winter.
Bark and Stem
The bark of the American Beech is smooth and light grey with lighter grey or white patches. American Beech trunks have been compared to and elephant legs. The bark does not exfoliate of peal off. The bark is prone to injury and scaring which makes them popular as memorials given their long lives. this thin bark also makes the American Beech especially susceptible to infection and rot.
Flowers and Fruits
Beeches flower in early spring. The flowers are small with the males being yellow and the females red. The fruit resulting is a nut (often referred to as a beechnut) covered with a woody spiny husk.
The inner bark, leaves, and fruit are edible. The lumber can be used for carpentry in furniture and veneers. Beech is often used for the top of work benches and as surfaces for non marring tools.
American Beeches can be found throughout Eastern and Midwestern North America. They can be found as far north as Hudson Bay, Canada to as far south as Florida and Texas, United States.
Location on Campus
You can find American Beech trees throughout the wooded areas on campus. The Specimens pictured on this page were found in the woods behind "B" building across Lonnie Harvel Boulevard. The first Beech tree that you will run across upon entry will be at 33 degrees 58'57" N by 84 degrees 0'21" W.
https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=789 http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/speciespages/beech.htm http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=47