Beech ~

The Common Beech (Fagus Sylvatica), can grow to be a fairly large tree.

Beech leaves and cupules. Cupules are the shell structures that contain the nuts.

The leaves and flowers open in April, and the nuts develop after fertilisation. By May, there is often no light reaching the woodland floor because beech leaves do not let much light through. The nuts ripen in September and October, and they fall to the floor where Squirrels, Gamebirds (such as Pheasants), Jays , Mice, etc. collect them for food.

The ones that survive germinate the following spring, though in Beech woods, many do not survive, unless a tree or branch has fallen to allow enough light through to the woodland floor. Young Beech trees are marcescent, meaning that dead leaves stay on through the winter until the spring when the new leaves develop. Beech trees do not often produce nuts until 40 years of age.

It is the foodplant for a range of leaf mining species of moth including Stigmella tityrella, Stigmella hemargyrella and Parornix fagivora.

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