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The European species Fagus sylvatica yields a utility timber that is tough but dimensionally unstable. Sometimes it is not the simplest wood for craftsmen, but if you know how to use it, it is usually worth the effort and time it takes. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Fagus sylvatica is one of the most common hardwood trees in north central Europe, in France alone constituting about 15% of all nonconifers. It weighs about 720 kg per cubic metre and is widely used for furniture framing and carcase construction, flooring and engineering purposes, in plywood and in household items like plates, but rarely as a decorative wood. Beech is not native to Ireland; however, it was widely planted from the 18th century, and can become a problem shading out the native woodland understory. It grows naturally in Denmark and southern Norway and Sweden up to about 57–59°N. [citation needed], Fagus sylvatica was a late entrant to Great Britain after the last glaciation, and may have been restricted to basic soils in the south of England. The pigment bistre was made from beech wood soot. It most commonly occurs as an overstory component in the northern part of its range with sugar maple, transitioning to other forest types further south such as beech-magnolia. The nuts provide forage for game animals, are used in fattening poultry, and yield an edible oil. The medium wood is ideal for sturdy furniture that must withstand frequent use. Patterns of Molecular and Morphological Differentiation in, Shen, Chung-Fu. Iliad 16.767) as a result of the absence of beech trees in Greece.[1]. Among the best known are the Australian beech (N. moorei), a 46-metre (151-foot) tree with leaves 7 cm (3 inches) long, found in New South Wales; the myrtle beech, Tasmanian myrtle, or Australian, or red, myrtle (N. cunninghamii), a 60-metre (197-foot) Tasmanian tree important for its fine-textured wood; the slender, columnar red beech (N. fusca) of New Zealand, about 30 metres tall; and the silver, or southland, beech (N. menziesii), a 30-metre New Zealand tree with doubly and bluntly toothed leaves bearing small hairy pits beneath. The strikingly columnar Dawyck beech (F. sylvatica 'Dawyck') occurs in green, gold, and purple forms, named after Dawyck Botanic Garden in the Scottish Borders, one of the four garden sites of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Credo Reference. The prefix red is sometimes used to describe the light red colouring of the wood. Web. Europe is also home to the lesser-known Oriental beech (F. orientalis) and Crimean beech (F. taurica). The timber can be used to build chalets, houses, and log cabins. Propagation is usually by seed; the shallow spreading root system often sends up suckers that may grow into thickets. Print. Fresh from the tree, beech leaves in spring are a fine salad vegetable, as sweet as a mild cabbage, though much softer in texture. The wavy-leaved Antarctic beech, or nire (Nothofagus antarctica), and the roble beech (N. obliqua), both 30-metre (98-foot) trees native to Chile and Argentina, differ from other species of false beech in being deciduous; they are planted as ornamentals on other continents. A Monograph of the Genus. Beech grows on a wide range of soil types, acidic or basic, provided they are not waterlogged. This provides a complex surface on which the yeast can settle, so that it does not pile up, preventing yeast autolysis which would contribute off-flavors to the beer. The European species Fagus sylvatica yields a utility timber that is tough but dimensionally unstable. It is widely used for furniture framing and carcase construction, flooring and engineering purposes, in plywood and in household items like plates, but rarely as a decorative wood. Beech logs are burned to dry the malt used in some German smoked beers, givin… Although rock elm is at the top of the list, with 32 million British Thermal Units (BTU) per cord of wood, beech averages 27,800,000 BTU per cord. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. [11] The beech is classified as a native in the south of England and as a non-native in the north where it is often removed from 'native' woods. Beech, (genus Fagus), genus of about 10 species of deciduous ornamental and timber trees in the family Fagaceae native to temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. [14] The tallest and longest hedge in the world (according to Guinness World Records) is the Meikleour Beech Hedge in Meikleour, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The remaining false beeches are evergreen timber trees of the Australasian area. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Recent classifications recognize 10 to 13 species in two distinct subgenera, Engleriana and Fagus. 27 September 2012. They work as excellent firewood, to smoke various foods and alcohols, and as a construction material for everything from tables to cabins. Prior to the Pleistocene Ice Age, it is believed to have spanned the entire width of the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, but now is confined to east of the Great Plains. Beeches grow best in sandy loam. They are produced in spring shortly after the new leaves appear. Hoboken: Wiley, 2006. [12] Large areas of the Chilterns are covered with beech woods, which are habitat to the common bluebell and other flora. Beech (Fagus) is a genus of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North America. Some suggest that it was introduced by Neolithic tribes who planted the trees for their edible nuts. Slats of beech wood are washed in caustic soda to leach out any flavor or aroma characteristics and are spread around the bottom of fermentation tanks for Budweiser beer. The primeval beech forests of the Carpathians are also an example of a singular, complete, and comprehensive forest dominated by a single tree species - the beech tree. Yellow-green male flowers hang from threadlike stems. The Beechwood can be customized to any shapes and style. The toothed parallel-veined leaves are shiny green and are borne alternately along the stem. Within its family, the Fagaceae, recent research has suggested that Fagus is the evolutionarily most basal group. Slats of washed beech wood are spread around the bottom of fermentation tanks for Budweiser beer. Beech wood is an excellent firewood, easily split and burning for many hours with bright but calm flames. They are small, roughly triangular and edible, with a bitter, astringent, or in some cases, mild and nut-like taste. The name of the tree (Latin fagus, whence the species name; cognate with English "beech") is of Indo-European origin, and played an important role in early debates on the geographical origins of the Indo-European people. Beech wood is a reddish-brown wood that can be incorporated into many areas of the house. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is the most commonly cultivated, although few important differences are seen between species aside from detail elements such as leaf shape. The Beechwood is mainly used to craft the furnishing products, toys, pianos and flooring in the basketball courts as well. The pale red-brown wood is durable underwater and is valued for indoor use, tool handles, and shipping containers. 2005. This provides a complex surface on which the yeast can settle, so that it does not pile up, preventing yeast autolysis which would contribute off-flavors to the beer. Fagus japonica, Fagus engleriana, and the species F. okamotoi, proposed by the botanist Chung-Fu Shen in 1992, comprise this subgenus. Further differentiating characteristics include the whitish bloom on the underside of the leaves, the visible tertiary leaf veins, and a long, smooth cupule-peduncle. early agricultural practices. Genetic differentiation and phylogeny of beech on the Balkan peninsula. Premium Membership is now 50% off! Beech can found in mixed woodlands as well as in beech woods particularly in lowlands but also in low mountainous regions. Manos, Paul S. with Kelly P. Steele. In modern Dutch, the word for "book" is boek, with beuk meaning "beech tree". Since the beech tree has such delicate bark, carvings, such as lovers' initials and other forms of graffiti, remain because the tree is unable to heal itself. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Beech wood also makes excellent firewood, easily split and burning for many hours with bright but calm flames. Today, beech is widely planted for hedging and in deciduous woodlands, and mature, regenerating stands occur throughout mainland Britain at elevations below about 650 m (2,100 ft). It is also used for making lumber and cabinets. Beech is also used to smoke Westphalian ham, various sausages, and some cheeses. As a naturally growing forest tree, beech marks the important border between the European deciduous forest zone and the northern pine forest zone. The…. The Engleriana subgenus is found only in East Asia, distinctive for their low branches, often made up of several major trunks with yellowish bark. The pink-brown hardwood of the Antarctic beech is used in flooring and cabinetmaking. This group includes Fagus sylvatica, Fagus grandifolia, Fagus crenata, Fagus lucida, Fagus longipetiolata, and Fagus hayatae. [10], Beech leaf disease is a disease spread by the newly discovered nematode, Litylenchus crenatae mccannii.

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