American Beech (fagus Americana)
Distinguishing characters: The *close-fitting, smooth, gray bark* will
tell this tree from all others except the red maple and yellow-wood.
See Fig. 52. The red maple may then be easily eliminated by noting
whether the branches are alternate or opposite. They are alternate
in the beech and opposite in the maple. The yellow-wood may be
eliminated by noting the size of the bud. The *bud* in the
yellow-wood is hardly noticeable and of a golden yellow color, while
that of the beech is very *long, slender, and sharp-pointed*, and
chestnut brown in color. See Fig. 53.
Form and size: It grows tall in the woods, but on the open lawn spreads
out into a massive, round-headed tree.
Range: Eastern Canada and United States.
Soil and location: Prefers a rich, well-drained soil, but will grow in
any good soil.
Enemies: _Aphides_ or plant lice that suck the sap from the leaves in
spring and early summer are the chief enemies of the tree.
Value for planting: The pleasing color of its bark, its fine spread of
branches, which gracefully droop down to the ground, and its
autumnal coloring, make the beech a favorite for lawn and park
planting. The several European species of beech are equally
Commercial value: The wood is strong, close-grained, and tough. It is
used mainly for cooperage, tool handles, shoe lasts, chairs, etc.,
and for fuel.
Other characters: The _fruit_ is a prickly burr encasing a sharply
triangular nut which is sweet and edible.
Comparisons: The _European beech_ (_Fagus sylvatica_), and its weeping,
purple-leaved, and fern-leaved varieties, are frequently met with in
parks and may be told from the native species by its darker bark.
The weeping form may, of course, be told readily by its drooping
branches. The leaves of the European beeches are broader and less
serrated than those of the American beech.
How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)