The beech: a profile
- Botanical name: Fagus sylvatica
- Other names: red beech, copper beech, weeping beech
- Plant family: beech family
- Occurrence: Europe
- Types: approx. 240
- Age: up to 320 years
- Size: up to 40 meters, occasionally up to 45 meters
- Height increase: about 50 cm per year
- Latitude growth: around 35 to 45 cm per year
- Wood: light, slightly reddish, steamed red
- Trunk: up to two meters in diameter
- Bark: first dark green / black, later silver gray, smooth, not very grainy
- Roots: heart root with lateral runners, shallow roots
- Leaves: alternate, ovate, barely serrate, slightly wavy
- Sheet size: 5 - 11 cm long, 3 - 8 cm wide
- Autumn color: common beech yellow-orange, copper beech red-orange
- Flowers: inconspicuous, monoecious
- Fruits: beechnuts (nuts)
- Harvest time: September - October
- Toxicity: beechnuts slightly poisonous, leaves edible
- Winter hardiness: absolutely hardy
- Use: beech hedges, single trees in parks and gardens, forests
- Use of wood: furniture, toys, industrial wood, firewood
Hornbeams are not beeches
Even if they are often counted among the beeches, hornbeams are not beeches, but birch plants. Its botanical name is: Carpinus betulus.
- You can recognize a beech by these characteristics
- This is what the leaves of a beech look like
- The beech in autumn
Hornbeams have harder, more resilient wood. The demands on care are similar for both tree species.
Beech species in Germany
In Germany only the common red beech plays a major role. In addition to the common beech, copper beeches and weeping beeches are also grown.
The name red beech is misleading because the beech has green leaves. Only the copper beech can be recognized by its dark red foliage. The beech is called red beech because of its slightly reddish wood. It takes on a red tone under steam.
What are beeches used for?
Beeches are very popular as a hedge plant in the garden. As individual trees, they need a lot of space and are therefore mainly planted in large gardens and parks.
Beech wood is very easy to work with. However, it warps quickly, so that it is not used as often as industrial wood like hornbeam wood, for example.
Beeches offer shelter to a wide variety of insects. The tree crown and beech hedges are often used by birds to build their nests.
Special features of the beech
A special feature of the beech makes it a popular hedge plant. The tree, which is well tolerated by pruning, often keeps the foliage well into winter. In some species, the leaves only fall off when the beech tree sprouts again. A beech hedge is also opaque in winter, although it is actually summer green and not evergreen.
The fruits of the beech are called beechnuts. In contrast to the leaves, they are slightly poisonous. In times of need they still came on the table, because the poison can be neutralized by roasting or heating.