Devon Wildlife Trust The Common beech is one of our most iconic trees, particularly in the woodlands of the south, such as those found in the Chilterns. Here, it grows tall and broad, turning a shining golden-brown in autumn as its leaves die, and littering the woodland floor with its nuts (known as 'mast'). Beech wood is used for furniture and ornaments; from the 18th century onwards, straight-trunked, uncoppiced trees became a more frequent site in woods and parks - ideal for timber.
How to Identify
The Common beech has shiny, soft, oval leaves; smooth, grey bark; torpedo-shaped buds; and large, hairy fruit that contain the beech nuts.
Woodland Trust Monumental, majestic, home to rare wildlife. Beech is an enchanting species and known as the queen of British trees. To wander beneath the leafy canopy, its cathedral-like branches spreading upwards, is an awe-inspiring experience.
Mature trees grow to a height of more than 40m and develop a huge domed crown. The bark is smooth, thin and grey, often with slight horizontal etchings. The reddish brown, torpedo-shaped leaf buds form on short stalks and have a distinctive criss-cross pattern.
Look out for: the edges of the leaves which are hairy. Triangular beech nuts form in prickly four-lobed seed cases.
Identified in winter by: leaf buds which are distinctively sharply pointed and not pressed against the twigs. They often hold on to their leaves throughout winter, a trait known as marcescence.
Devonshire Association The Botany Section was founded in 1908 to promote the study and enjoyment of Devon’s wild plants, including bryophytes (mosses), lichens and fungi.
Beech leaves turning, Chulmleigh (Photo: Grant Sherman 11th October 2020)
Plantlife Wild flowers , plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes. But without our help , this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost.
From the open spaces of our nature reserves to the corridors of government , we work nationally and internationally to raise their profile, celebrate their beauty, and to protect their future.
Royal Horticultural Society Fagus sylvatica is a large, vigorous deciduous tree with a broad, spreading crown. Leaves broadly elliptic, yellow-green in spring, rich russet-brown in autumn. Flowers small, green, followed by bristly fruits.
National Biodiveristy Network Fagus sylvatica
Wikipedia Fagus sylvatica, the European beech or common beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagaceae. Fagus sylvatica is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 50 m (160 ft) tall and 3 m (9.8 ft) trunk diameter, though more typically 25–35 m (82–115 ft) tall and up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) trunk diameter. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 4 m (13 ft) tall. It has a typical lifespan of 150–200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. In cultivated forest stands trees are normally harvested at 80–120 years of age. 30 years are needed to attain full maturity (as compared to 40 for American beech). Like most trees, its form depends on the location: in forest areas, F. sylvatica grows to over 30 m (100 ft), with branches being high up on the trunk. In open locations, it will become much shorter (typically 15–24 m (50–80 ft)) and more massive.