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Fagus - Beech Trees

Fagus trees are commonly known as beech trees, and the trees in this genus are from the family fagaceae. Beech trees are native to the temperate regions of Europe as well as Asia and North America. The highly popular Fagus sylvatica has a complex story in Britain, and it is technically a native but only in certain regions. The Fagus sylvatica is classified as a native to southern England and to south Wales, but there are ongoing campaigns to get it classified as a native to areas of the North of England - specifically Cumbria.

 All trees in the Fagus genus are deciduous, but most have an unusual trait in that they retain their autumnal leaves until the new leaves shoot through the following spring. The dried autumnal leaves only hold on the tree if the tree is pruned in late summer or early autumn, and for this reason many people use our (technically) native Fagus sylvatica as a hedge. The crisp autumn coloured leaves make the Fagus hedge stand out, and it makes a really nice alternative to your standard evergreen hedge. Beech leaves are generally ovate with deep veins and wavy edges and they come in a range of colours from coppery green to lime green to dark purple.

Beech trees are widely planted for their ornamental value, but they are also utilised in many trades including brewing beer, smoking cheese, and making drums. The wood burns well with a long burning time and calm, consistent flames. Burns beech wood has a very distinct aroma, which makes it ideal for smoking chees and drying malts in beer. The timber has more of a practical use, rather than a decorative one, and beech wood was traditionally used as a writing tablet before the development of paper.