Fern-Leaf Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Among the elegant trees in the cemetery, the beech is the most beautiful and stately. It is slow-growing and adds only a foot a year, but it is long-lived. Unlike most other trees with their scaly bark, the beech bark is a smooth, silvery bluish gray which remains smooth even into old age. Pet the trunk to see how close fitting the bark is in comparison with bark on other trees. The small leaves turn yellow in the fall. Then they turn brown and remain on the tree all winter. Every three or four years the beech produces edible beechnuts. The nuts nest in pairs inside prickly burs. The tree has the reputation of never having been struck by lightning, and whether or not this is true, the tree does not have a central trunk which would conduct a bolt of lightning.