Fagus sylvatica Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: Common Beech, European beech [En], Hêtre commun, Fayard [Fr], Beuk [Nl], Rotbuche [De], Faggio [It], Haya común [Es], Οξιά [Gr], Avrupa Kayını [Tu]
Halle, BRABANT ● Belgium
Description: Deciduous large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 50 m tall and 3 m trunk diameter, though more typically 25–35 m tall and up to 1.5 m trunk diameter.
The leaves are alternate, simple, and entire or with a slightly crenate margin, 5–10 cm long and 3–7 cm broad, with 6-7 veins on each side of the leaf (7-10 veins in Fagus orientalis). When crenate, there is one point at each vein tip, never any points between the veins. The buds are long and slender, 15–30 mm long and 2–3 mm thick, but thicker (to 4–5 mm) where the buds include flower buds.
F. sylvatica male flowers are borne in the small catkins which are a hallmark of the Fagales order (beeches, chestnuts, oaks, walnuts, hickories, birches, and hornbeams). The female flowers produce beechnuts, small triangular nuts 15–20 millimetres long and 7–10 mm wide at the base; there are two nuts in each cupule, maturing in the autumn 5–6 months after pollination. Flower and seed production is particularly abundant in years following a hot, sunny and dry summer, though rarely for two years in a row.
The root system is shallow, even superficial, with large roots spreading out in all directions. The first roots to appear are very thin (with a diameter of less than 0.5 mm). Later, after a wave of above ground growth, thicker roots grow in a steady fashion.
Biology: It has a typical lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. 30 years are needed to attain full maturity.
Spring leaf budding by the European beech is triggered by a combination of day length and temperature. Bud break each year is from the middle of April to the beginning of May, often with remarkable precision (within a few days). It is only after the budding that root growth of the year begins.
European beech forms ectomycorrhizas with a range of fungi including members of the genera Amanita, Boletus, Cantharellus, Hebeloma and Lactarius; these fungi are important in enhancing uptake of water and nutrients from the soil.
Habitat: Though not demanding of its soil type, the European beech has several significant requirements: a humid atmosphere (precipitation well distributed throughout the year and frequent fogs) and well-drained soil (it cannot handle excessive stagnant water). It prefers moderately fertile ground, calcified or lightly acidic, therefore it is found more often on the side of a hill than at the bottom of a clayey basin. It tolerates rigorous winter cold, but is sensitive to spring frost. In Norway's oceanic climate planted trees grow well as far north as Trondheim.
Distribution: The natural range extends from southern Sweden to northern Sicily, west to France, southern England, northern Portugal, central Spain, and east to northwest Turkey, where it intergrades with the oriental beech (Fagus orientalis), which replaces it further east. In the Balkans, it shows some hybridisation with oriental beech; these hybrid trees are named Fagus × taurica. In the southern part of its range around the Mediterranean, it grows only in mountain forests, at 600–1,800 m altitude.
Wikipedia, Fagus sylvatica