Common Beech, Fagus sylvatica

Identification Features

  • Bark: silvery-grey with greenish tinge, particularly when wet. Stays pretty smooth even in really large trees, becoming only slightly rough. Can develop light horizontal markings.
  • Twigs: Slender, zig-zagging from node to node with alternate buds
  • Buds: Slender, elegant, elongated (2cm), torpedo-shaped, sharp-pointed, obvious scales, reddish brown.

Description/General Character:
Long trunk, growing tall. Potentially a very large tree. When growing in the open – domed with spreading branches. When growing in the forest – tall dome on upward facing branches on top of long straight trunk.

Southern and western Europe to the Ukraine.

Woodlands, forming pure stands or mixing with conifers and other broadleaves. Favours mineral rich soils. Doesn’t like it wet.

Other Observations:
Dead leaves often persist on lower branches of both small and large trees.

Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


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