American Beech
Overview
Fagus grandifolia, also known as American Beech or North american beech, is a species of beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

 native to eastern North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, from Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 west to southern
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 in southeastern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, west to Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 and south to eastern Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and northern Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Trees in the southern half of the range are sometimes distinguished as a variety, F. grandifolia var. caroliniana, but this is not considered distinct in the Flora of North America.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Fagus grandifolia, also known as American Beech or North american beech, is a species of beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

 native to eastern North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, from Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 west to southern
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 in southeastern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, west to Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 and south to eastern Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and northern Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Trees in the southern half of the range are sometimes distinguished as a variety, F. grandifolia var. caroliniana, but this is not considered distinct in the Flora of North America. A related beech native to the mountains of central Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 is sometimes treated as a subspecies of American Beech, but more often as a distinct species, Mexican Beech
Mexican Beech
Fagus mexicana, the Mexican Beech or Haya, is a species of beech endemic to northeastern and central Mexico, where it occurs from southwest Tamaulipas south to Hidalgo and Puebla...

 Fagus mexicana.

Description

It is a deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 growing to 20 metre tall, with smooth, silver-gray bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

. The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are dark green, simple and sparsely-toothed with small teeth, 6 centimetre long (rarely 15 centimetres (5.9 in)), with a short petiole
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

. The winter twigs are distinctive among North American trees, being long and slender (15 millimetre by 2 millimetre) with two rows of overlapping scales on the buds. The tree is monoecious
Plant sexuality
Plant sexuality covers the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems found across the plant kingdom. This article describes morphological aspects of sexual reproduction of plants....

, with flowers of both sexes on the same tree. The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 is a small, sharply-angled nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

, borne in pairs in a soft-spined, four-lobed husk.

The American Beech is a shade-tolerant species, favoring shade more than other trees, commonly found in forests in the final stage of succession
Ecological succession
Ecological succession, is the phenomenon or process by which a community progressively transforms itself until a stable community is formed. It is a fundamental concept in ecology, and refers to more or less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community...

. Although sometimes found in pure stands, it is more often associated with Sugar Maple
Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum is a species of maple native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, and south to Georgia and Texas...

 (forming the Beech-Maple climax community
Beech-maple forest
A beech-maple forest is a climax mesic closed canopy hardwood forest. It is primarily composed of American Beech and Sugar Maple trees which co-dominate the forest and which are the pinnacle of plant succession in their range...

), Yellow Birch
Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis , is a species of birch native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Ontario, and the southeast corner of Manitoba in Canada, west to Minnesota, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.It is a...

, and Eastern Hemlock
Eastern Hemlock
Tsuga canadensis, also known as eastern or Canadian hemlock, and in the French-speaking regions of Canada as pruche du Canada, is a coniferous tree native to eastern North America. It ranges from northeastern Minnesota eastward through southern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and south in the Appalachian...

, typically on moist well drained slopes and rich bottomlands. Near its southern limit, it often shares canopy dominance with Southern Magnolia.

Disease

Beech bark disease
Beech Bark Disease
Beech bark disease is a disease that causes mortality and defects in beech trees in the eastern United States and Europe. In North America, the disease results when the beech scale insect, Cryptococcus fagisuga, attacks the bark, creating a wound. Later, two different fungi Beech bark disease is a...

 has become a major killer of beech trees in the Northeastern United States. This disease occurs when the beech scale insect, Cryptococcus fagisuga
Cryptococcus fagisuga
Cryptococcus fagisuga, commonly known as the beech scale or woolly beech scale, is a felted scale insect in the superfamily Coccoidea that infests beech trees of the genus Fagus...

, attacks the bark, creating a wound that is then infected by one of two different species of fungi
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 in the genus Nectria
Nectria
This article is about a genus of fungi. For the echinoderm genus, see Nectria .Nectria is a genus of Ascomycete fungi. They are most often encountered as saprophytes on decaying wood but some species can also occur as parasites of trees, especially fruit trees and a number of other hardwood trees...

. This causes a canker to develop and the tree is eventually killed.

Beech blight aphid
Beech blight aphid
The beech blight aphid is a small insect in the order Hemiptera that feeds on the sap of American beech trees. The aphids form dense colonies on small branches and the undersides of leaves....

s colonize branches of the tree, but without serious harm to otherwise healthy trees. Below these colonies, deposits of sooty mold
Sooty mold
Sooty molds are Ascomycete fungi which grow on plant exudates and the sugary honeydew secreted by insects such as aphids, scales, the whitefly, and other insects which suck sap from their host plants. The name itself is descriptive, as sooty mold is a black, powdery coating adhering to the leaves...

 develop caused by the fungus Scorias spongiosa
Scorias spongiosa
Scorias spongiosa is a sooty mould fungus that grows on aphid honeydew. It is a member of the Capnodiaceae family of ascomycete fungi. It is found only on American beech trees, Fagus grandifolia.-Overview:...

growing saprophytically
Saprotrophic nutrition
Saprotrophic nutrition is a process of chemoheterotrophic extra-cellular digestion involved in the processing of dead or decayed organic matter that occurs in saprotrophs or heterotrophs, and is most often associated with fungi, for example Mucor and Rhizopus...

 on the honeydew
Honeydew (secretion)
Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the gut's terminal opening. Honeydew is particularly common as a secretion in the Hemipteran...

 the insects exude. This is also harmless to the trees.

Uses

American Beech is an important tree in forestry
Forestry
Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

. The wood is heavy, hard, tough and strong, and, until the advent of the modern chainsaw
Chainsaw
A chainsaw is a portable mechanical saw, powered by electricity, compressed air, hydraulic power, or most commonly a two-stroke engine...

, during lumbering beech trees were often left uncut to grow. As a result, many areas today still have extensive groves of old beeches that would not otherwise occur. Today, the wood is harvested for uses such as flooring, containers, furniture, handles and woodenware.

Like the European Beech bark, the American Beech bark is an attraction for vandals who carve names, dates, gang symbols, and other material into it. One such tree in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, in what is now the southern part of Iroquois Park, bore the legend "D. Boone
Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits mad']'e him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of...

 kilt a bar
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

" and the year in the late 18th century. This carving was authenticated as early as the mid-19th century, and the tree trunk section is now in the possession of The Filson Historical Society
The Filson Historical Society
The Filson Historical Society is a historical society located in the Old Louisville neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. The organization was founded in 1884 and named after early Kentucky explorer John Filson, who wrote The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke, which included one...

 in Louisville.

It is sometimes planted as an ornamental tree, but (even within its native area) much less often than the European Beech
European Beech
Fagus sylvatica, the European Beech or Common Beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagaceae.-Natural range:...

; the latter species is faster-growing and somewhat more tolerant of difficult urban
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

 sites.

The mast
Mast (botany)
Mast is the "fruit of forest trees like acorns and other nuts". It is also defined as "the fruit of trees such as beech, and other forms of Cupuliferae". Alternatively, it can also refer to "a heap of nuts"....

 (crop of nuts) from American Beech provides food for numerous species of animals. Among vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

s alone, these include ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, raccoons, red/gray foxes, white tail deer, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, pheasants, black bears, porcupines, and man. For lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

n caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

s feeding on American Beech, see List of Lepidoptera that feed on beeches. Beech nuts were one of the primary foods of the now-extinct passenger pigeon
Passenger Pigeon
The Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon was a bird, now extinct, that existed in North America and lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century...

, and the clearing of beech and oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

forests are pointed to as one of the major factors that may have contributed to the bird's extinction.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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