Sunday, December 11, 2016

A year in the life of a beech tree Fagus sylvatica

Beech Fagus sylvatica autumn foliage almost glows when it changes colour in October.

Truly one of the finest displays of autumn, beech foliage almost glows on bright afternoons.

Beech nuts ('mast') and their husks. In occasional mast years a massive crop can be produced .....

.... which is good news for bramblings, that feed on the nuts.

The smooth, grey bark of beech trees often proves tempting for lovers who carve their initials in it. Wounds like this let in fungal infections that can ultimately kill the tree.

Young beech trees and clipped beech hedges retain their dead autumn foliage until spring.

A beech in the prime of life, at the beginning of winter.

Frost is needed to release the buds from winter dormancy ...

But unusually late frosts in spring can destroy tender young foliage.The fine hairs around the edge of the leaf tenfd to fall off after the pleats unfold and the leaf expands.

Beech male flowers

Coming into full leaf - the same tree as shown above in winter

Mature beechs have a massive root plate which sometimes give the appearance of the tree having melted into the ground.

Southern bracket Ganoderma autrale - often a killer of beeches. Here it's growing on an old stump ....

.. but more usually it grows higher up, weakening the trunk which can often snap in autumn gales, 10-12 feet above ground level. The fungal brackets are perennial, producing a new layer of spore tissue every year and generating millions of spores over the course of a several years.


  1. Replies
    1. Delighted if you do! Lovely to hear from you..

  2. Then, in that case I shall expand my comment!

    The leaf colour is glorious and to see a real Brambling is pure delight.

    1. Bramblings usually turn up in our garden after Christmas and their plumage colour becomes more intense a spring approaches. Lovely little birds, aren't they?


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