Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Beech Trees

My life in appalachia - Beech Trees

This time of the year Beech trees are easy to spot in the woods. Their leaves from last summer are still hanging on even though Spring and new growth is just around the corner. The papery tanish goldish leaves stand out in the open woods like left over Christmas decorations.

Beech trees grow throughout the eastern portion of the US-from Canada to Florida and can grow as high as 80 feet. Beech trees have tiny flowers in spring, I’ve never seen them, but I’m hoping to this year.

Beech trees are noted for their smooth bark and for their nuts. I’ve never tasted a Beech nut but have heard older folks say the nut is sweet and in days gone by was a treat they enjoyed in the fall of the year.

The Frank C. Brown Collection Of NC Folklore says Beech trees are never struck by lightning and will in fact protect you from lightning.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    March 8, 2019 at 12:23 am

    The interesting thing about beech trees to me is the way they hang onto their leaves all winter, and you never see them falling. All of a sudden one day, all at the same time, they’re just gone.

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    March 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Tipper, thanks for the education. My wife and I had been wondering about these trees, but always seemed to forget about them when around someone who could answer. It seems like I had never noticed them until just a few years ago. Maybe it comes with age.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I think we used to have a beech tree up behind our house where I lived as a child. They are little triangular nuts, right? I used to eat them, I thought they were good.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    My heart goes out to them too. Just heart wrenching. Am so thankful for emergency workers who run into the face of danger when the rest of us are running away from it. Praying for all those affected, especially those who lost loved ones.
    With regard to Beech Trees, the largest in the State of NC is in Cary, NC which my brother has personally viewed. He’s an arborist and says although they won’t protect you from lightning, they are some of the strongest trees in nature which you’ll very rarely see blown over in a storm.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    March 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Blessing to all those affected by the tornadoes.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I’m so, so sorry for all who had damages from the storms last night. We went to the basement and stayed until the all clear.
    We are surrounded by trees and are grateful non blew over on the house.
    I am glad you identified the beech tree for me, Tipper. I’m going to look for them on my land.
    I love your metaphor.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    March 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I love Beech trees..Glad you and your family are ok..It’s been a scary time..I hate to think what the spring is going to be like..I’m praying for so many less fortunate…Susie

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Power finally came back on at 6:02 AM this morning…and
    when I looked into our woods…I saw this
    ….Ode to the Beech….
    Little Beech tree Queen of the Wood.
    Keep your gown on as you should,
    til Spring when warmth unfolds.
    Green leaves and flowers to behold…
    When fear crept in thru the night.
    Thunder and lightning doused the lights..
    Your beautiful dress of brown,
    was scattered hither and all around.
    Only three more weeks for you
    to bare,
    the cold wind of this nightmare.
    Think happy Spring and look around,
    That you weren’t uprooted and thrown to the ground….
    by B. Ruth ….(Shakespit)…
    Thanks Tipper, we were so fortunate as wind blew limbs and lightning ran along every fence, nook and cranny around here…

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    March 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I was wondering how you all faired through the storms, I could see they were heading your way on the radar, so sorry to hear of the damage in your area, we were blessed also to have no damage, but across the river some of the same houses hit last year were hit again, prayers are going up for your neighbors as we request you remember ours also…good to hear your and yours are o.k…

  • Reply
    Mark Lynn Ferguson
    March 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Tipper, this makes me want to walk over to Rock Creek Park and go beech hunting. Great post.
    I’ve started a list of places for those who want to help tornado victims in Appalachia —
    If you know of other places, please leave a comment on The Revivalist.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    There use to be several huge beech
    trees up the little creek just to
    the right of our chinquapins. I’ve
    got many a squirrel out of those
    when I got out of school.
    Last night’s tornados really tore
    up Jack! Murphy got hit hard. Those things came right between you and me and on Facebook there
    are pictures to see, I’m told.
    My prayers are with those who lost
    their homes. In Peachtree, three
    of my cousins lost their homes.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I am very partial to beech trees, and have just a few here at home. (Luckily, they have not been afflicted by beech bark disease, which is prevalent in this area. Fingers crossed for continued immunity!)
    I love the color of beech leaves – the “colors” I should say, from the bright, light green of the incredibly soft leaves in Spring, to the changing shades of yellow, pinkish-copper and finally caramel in the Autumn.
    On the trees here, the winter leaves point in the same direction, as if the wind is blowing even when it’s still. Each tree is like a sculpture.
    My, I do go on about beeches! They really are one of my favorite trees.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    March 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    So glad you and yours are safe! I am so sorry for all that suffered through these storms! I spent the night huddled in a hall way with a pillow on my head hearing the storm sirens wailing for hours.. but even though it was headed straight for our town, it skipped us. I am so thankful. I did not think I could stand to go through that again, it was just last April that my home suffered much damage. I know others have had it to happen twice to them, and I am so so sorry!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Glad you are ok. Many storms were in our area and up into KY and VA, but no damage here. It was a scary night though.
    We have many Beech trees in our woods and have even moved 2 down into our yard. Folks said they wouldn’t make it, but they’re thriving. I’m glad.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Tipper, so glad to hear you all are ok. Spring is roaring in like a lion this year. T

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Yesterday was a sad day here in Kentucky and Indiana. I live about 45 minutes from the heart of all the damage and have many co-workers who live in the hardest hit areas. Please pray for all the people that lost so much.
    We had a huge beech nut tree at the end of the playground when I was in school. A single merry-go-round was the only thing I remember being on the grounds. We took our turn at riding and ate beech nuts while we waited. We popped them open with our teeth. Ouch! They were so tasty!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Tipper—Beech trees are interesting in ways other than those you note. Here are a few comments.
    *Beech trees are sometimes known as “lovers’ trees” thanks to the fact that their smooth bark is ideal for carving in names of a guy and his gal.
    *While beech mast is indeed tasty, in most places roughly four years out of five the trees the nuts will not “make.” The little triangular shaped nuts will appear fine in the burr, but the insides will be hollow.
    *When the nuts do “make,” it seems every critter in the woods gets in on the act. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, bears, hogs, ground squirrels, boomers, etc. all love them.
    *It was a beech tree in what is now east Tennessee that Daniel Boone used to carve his information about “D. Boone kilt a bar here” (or something to that effect).
    *I have serious doubts about the accuracy of the folklore book regarding lightning never striking beech trees. I’ve got a slide somewhere in my collection of images which shows a beech that almost certainly had been struck by lightning. I suspect they seldom get hit by lightning not because they “repel” it but because of where they usually grow. They seem to prefer creek bottoms and lowlands as opposed to high ridges and ridge tops. That means appreciably less likelihood of being hit by lightning.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Glad your family is safe — prayers for those affected by this unpredictable, contrary weather we are having.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I can’t say that we have any beech trees here…I’m sure there are some, but we have mostly maples and oaks. I’m glad you’re all ok…those storms sounded just terrible. My niece spent some time in a Church basement in Kansas the other evening as well.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

    That was great information about Beech Trees. I will have to take a better look at my trees to see if I have any around the house. I send out my deep thoughts for those who have lost their homes and possibly family members. They will be in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

    How about: Faded soldiers still standing against winters cruel blasts until spring’s young sentinels push them away and they flutter down to be swept away by the brisk winds of March.
    We won’t mention the little old lady who thinks they are an eyesore and makes her old man rake them in a ditch and burn them.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    March 3, 2012 at 8:30 am

    We have a good number of those Beech trees around our place. I’ll have to keep an eye out for flowers and nuts. Thanks for sharing that. Also glad ya’ll are ok. We spent two hours in the basement last night. The same storm that hit Cherokee county came on across to Macon County as well. We too were fortnuate and had no damage. Prayers to all those that are hurting today.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I thank God that you and yours were safe from the storm, and pray for those hit by it. Troublous times such as raging storms remind us all that we need an Anchor, steadfast and true.
    Like the beech tree that rises tall and majestic, may we rest in the majesty and surety of God.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    March 3, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Tipper: Now I will have to change my mind about beech trees. They are so prevalent in our forests and they look messy to me at this time of year. Many times I have ask Jim to AX the beech tree growing behind our Tea House (tool shed). He keeps asking WHY?
    The horrible trail of destruction across Tennessee from last night’s storm has left so many people in need. It ‘seemed’ to pass right over our house and we dashed to the ground floor. But shortly it had passed. The reporters said it was worse than the previous storm. I wish we could just have a gentle Spring!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Tipper, it continues to amaze me how your posts probe deep into my mind and bring out memories I thought to be long forgotten. Long before slides and swings were popular children had to find ways to entertain themselves. Behind the Grade School were some Beech trees. We spent our recess picking up these 3 sided nuts with small unwashed hands. The shells were soft, and I can remember gathering handfuls. It is sad that most children are unable to enjoy this simple and free activity.
    My prayers are with the storm victims, and is reminder to help our neighbors.

  • Reply
    kat magendie
    March 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

    It was a scary night – the thunder was mean and angry, and came one after another after another – trembling the little log house here in Maggie Valley, but we had it easy compared to so very many.
    Beech trees! Now I know what these trees are that keep their leaves!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Furled flags of former glory awaiting springs final flourish. Am I a poet er what?
    I don’t know of any beech trees around here but I remember them from the old home place on Wiggins Creek.
    Burke County is still cleaning up from January’s tornado. They are moving in trailers for some people who’s homes were totaled. Now ain’t that what you are supposed to run from if there is the threat of a tornado?

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    March 3, 2012 at 7:14 am

    My heart goes out to all those who have been hurt in any way from these ferocious storms.
    It has been so wild!
    We had a big beech tree at a place we lived years ago. My son-in-law was so thrilled, he would gather the nuts every year, said they were much the best nuts he ever ate.
    I love hickory nuts myself. They are sure hard to pick out though!

  • Reply
    Sandy kalvaitis
    March 3, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I haven’t had beech nuts since I was a kid. But I remember my Grandpa bringing them to me in his coat pocket when he went squirrel hunting. I loved how tasty they were and that each little nut had three sides. Wouldn’t I love to put my hand in that old coat pocket and find those little treats again. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

    In the words of that old song, “Welllll… now didn’t it rain, rain, children, didn’t it rain all the while?”
    Ain’t seen this many storms come this bunched up in a while.

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