Remember to take expert advice before picking or eating any wild fungi. Triangular beech nuts form in prickly four lobed seed cases. The bark is smooth, thin and grey, often with slight horizontal etchings. Beech foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of a number of moths, including the barred hook-tip, clay triple-lines and olive crescent. In Norway, the beech migration was very recent, and the species has not reached its distribution potential. In modern Dutch, the word for "book" is boek, with beuk meaning "beech tree". The wood burns well and was traditionally used to smoke herring. Severe infestations can kill affected trees.
Could be confused with: It is the only Fagus species in the Western Hemisphere. North American beech Fagus grandifolia , seen in autumn The American beech Fagus grandifolia occurs across much of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada , with a disjunct population in Mexico. In Norway, the beech migration was very recent, and the species has not reached its distribution potential. Common beech is a large, deciduous tree, native to southern England and South Wales. The seeds are eaten by mice, voles, squirrels and birds. In Denmark and Scania, at the southernmost peak of the Scandinavian peninsula, south-west of the natural spruce boundary, it is the most common forest tree. They are small, roughly triangular and edible, with a bitter, astringent, or in some cases, mild and nut-like taste. Beech leaves have wavy edges with small hairs as opposed to the serrated margins of hornbeam. This provides a complex surface on which the yeast can settle, so that it does not pile up, preventing yeast autolysis which would contribute off-flavors to the beer. Triangular beech nuts form in prickly four lobed seed cases. Other areas which have a long history of cultivation, Bulgaria for example, do not exhibit this pattern, so how much human activity has influenced the spread of beech trees is as yet unclear. The wood burns well and was traditionally used to smoke herring. The textile modal is a kind of rayon often made wholly from reconstituted cellulose of pulped beech wood. Prior to the Pleistocene Ice Age, it is believed to have spanned the entire width of the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific , but now is confined to east of the Great Plains. It usually grows on drier, free-draining soils, such as chalk, limestone and light loams. Native truffle fungi grow in beech woods. Because beech trees live for so long they provide habitats for many deadwood specialists such as hole-nesting birds and wood-boring insects. Beech foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of a number of moths, including the barred hook-tip, clay triple-lines and olive crescent. Only specialist shade tolerant plants can survive beneath a beech canopy. It can be sensitive to winter frost. Europe is also home to the lesser-known Oriental beech F. Mythology and symbolism Beech is associated with femininity and is often considered the queen of British trees, where oak is the king. The reddish brown, torpedo-shaped leaf buds form on short stalks, and have a distinctive criss-cross pattern. Where to find beech Its natural habitat extends over a large part of Eurpoe from southern Sweden to northern Sicily. Remember to take expert advice before picking or eating any wild fungi. Beech logs are burned to dry the malt used in some German smoked beers , giving the beers their typical flavor.
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