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Beech


What a wonderfully elegant tree a fully grown beech is. Tall and dominating and lacking the gnarled twists and turns of the oak. Apparently in the Cotswolds it is known as the 'Lady of the Woods'.

It took me while to find a Beech to photograph and, in the end, I had to make a short journey to Badbury Rings. I found it surprising to learn that the Beech is not indigenous to Dorset and most of our specimens have been planted for specific purposes, often for protection as a wind break or for forestry production.

Some Beech trees have been pollarded and not allowed to develop this beautiful uplifting natural shape; instead becoming more spreading from the central crown point.

Up close and personal, the Beech has smooth bark with a silver-grey or even metallic appearance. It has these familiar slight horizontal lines. The bark is thin and the wood inside is hard and strong and of a bright buff colouring with brown flecks which make it a popular choice for furniture and is also a favourite with wood turners to make bowls and other items. 

Profile and bark are all very well for identifying trees in winter but often the best way is to look on the ground under the tree for evidence. Dead leaves are often a give away but so too the remains of the nuts. Beech 'mast' is unmistakable.

The woodland floor with dead leaves and mast is an ideal place to look for all sorts of wildlife from squirrels and other mammals foraging, to birds looking under them for small insect and, of course, the insects, grubs and plants (mainly fungi) that feed on the litter itself. Nothing like a bit of detective work!


 

Common Name Beech
Scientific Name Fagus sylvatica
Species Group Deciduous Trees
Status
Interest Level
2
Visabile
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Beech family - Fagaceae
Status Local
Flower Colour Group Green
Visible
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
Preferred Environment
Look for The tiny green flowers which is surprising for such a big tree
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Deciduous Trees