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=Habitat and Range.=--Moist, rocky soil.

Nova Scotia through Quebec and Ontario.

Maine,--abundant; New Hampshire,--throughout the state; common on the

Connecticut-Merrimac watershed, enters largely into the composition of

the hardwood forests of Coos county; Vermont,--abundant;

Massachusetts,--in western sections abundant, common eastward;

Rhode Island and Connecticut,--common.

South to Florida; west to Wisconsin, Missouri, and Texas.

=Habit.=--A tree of great beauty, rising to a height of 50-75 feet, with

a diameter at the ground of 1-1/2-4 feet; under favorable conditions

attaining much greater dimensions; trunk remarkably smooth, sometimes

fluted, in the forests tall and straight, in open situations short and

stout; head symmetrical, of various shapes,--rounded, oblong, or even

obovate; branches numerous, mostly long and slender, curving slightly

upward at their tips, near the point of branching horizontal or slightly

drooping, beset with short branchlets which form a flat, dense, and

beautiful spray; roots numerous, light brown, long, and running near the

surface. Tree easily distinguishable in winter by the dried

brownish-white leaves, spear-like buds, and smooth bark.

=Bark.=--Trunk light blue gray, smooth, unbroken, slightly corrugated in

old trees, often beautifully mottled in blotches or bands and invested

by lichens; branches gray; branchlets dark brown and smooth; spray

shining, reddish-brown; season's shoots a shining olive green,


=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds conspicuous, long, very slender,

tapering slowly to a sharp point; scales rich brown, lengthening as the

bud opens. Leaves set in plane of the spray, simple, alternate, 3-5

inches long, one-half as wide, silky-pubescent with fringed edges when

young, nearly smooth when fully grown, green on both sides, turning to

rusty yellows and browns in autumn, persistent till mid-winter; outline

oval, serrate; apex acuminate; base rounded; veins strong, straight,

terminating in the teeth; leafstalk short, hairy at first; stipules

slender, silky, soon falling.

=Inflorescence.=--May. Appearing with the leaves from the season's

shoots, sterile flowers from the lower axils, in heads suspended at the

end of silky threads 1-2 inches long; calyx campanulate, pubescent,

yellowish-green, mostly 6-lobed; petals none; stamens 6-16; anthers

exserted; ovary wanting or abortive: fertile flowers from the upper

axils, usually single or in pairs, at the end of a short peduncle;

involucre 4-lobed, fringed with prickly scales; calyx with six

awl-shaped lobes; ovary 3-celled; styles 3.

=Fruit.=--A prickly bur, thick, 4-valved, splitting nearly to the base

when ripe: nut sharply triangular, sweet, edible.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows well in any

good soil, but prefers deep, rich, well-drained loam; usually obtainable

in nurseries; when frequently transplanted, safely moved. Its clean

trunk and limbs, deep shade, and freedom from insect pests make it one

of the most attractive of our large trees for use, summer or winter, in

landscape gardening; few plants, however, will grow beneath it; the bark

is easily disfigured; it has a bad habit of throwing out suckers and is

liable to be killed by any injury to the roots. Propagated from the

seed. The purple beech, weeping beech, and fern-leaf beech are

well-known horticultural forms.

1. Winter buds.

2. Flowering branch.

3. Sterile flower.

4. Fertile flower.

5. Fruiting branch.

6. Section of fruit.

7. Nut.

=Castanea sativa, var. Americana, Watson and Coulter.=

Castanea dentata, Borkh. Castanea vesca, var. Americana, Michx.

Next: Chestnut

Previous: Fagaceae Beech Family

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