While beech species grow in every hemisphere, the one you'll find in North America is American Beech (Fagus grandifolia). "Blue beech," which shares the same range, proves to be hornbeam.
In lower elevations, beech often grows in pure stands, with trees to 120' in height and 4' in diameter.
Beech has an unmistakable bark of shiny, silver-grey that fits its trunk like smooth skin. It seems to beg knife-point initialing, as was done by Daniel Boone on a Tennessee tree: "D. Boone, Cilled A Bar On Tree In Year 1760."
In early spring, yellow-green blooms appear with the newly formed leaves on beech's branches. By fall, small triangular nuts covered by prickly burs occur. These sweet, edible nuts provide wildlife with forage.
The wood of beech resembles yellow birch, but with a tint of red in the darker brown heartwood. The straight-grained, evenly textured stock frequently has an attractive ray fleck. It is hard, strong, and heavy.
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