Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Beech Trees and Golden Garments

Beech trees wear golden garments in appalachia

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. When I see the leaves shining through the woods I always think of them as being golden garments for the trees.

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 growing in southern appalachia

 

Beech trees are noted for their smooth bark and for their nuts. I’ve never tasted one, but older folks in my area 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 special because they are never struck by lightning and will in fact protect you from lightning. I say Beech trees are special because they welcome Spring of the year with their golden garments.

Tipper

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    March 4, 2016 at 7:34 am

    You learn something everyday. No lightning, nutsn and the are very pretty.
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 4, 2016 at 1:41 am

    My buddy Beanie’s uncle had a problem with squirrels in his cornfield. He told us he would pay for the shells if we would take care of them. We shot 30 and took them to him. He would only take 5 or 6 and told us we could have the rest. Nobody would take any. We ended up throwing them away.
    When my son first got a gun he asked me if he could kill a bird. I told him if he killed it he had to eat it. So far he hasn’t had to cook any wild game. I’m not saying he hasn’t killed anything. But at least he hasn’t brought it home. f

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks Tipper
    That’s the Ode to the Beech that I wrote….I am going to have to copy it so I can find it in my Ode to’s book when I write them….Somehow I didn’t get this one down in my journal…However, old age tends to lose books at times…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….Do you think that “Ethelene” is well? This little ditty I wrote, could never compare to her works…
    I miss her comments and poems on your website….I have been wondering about her as I have not seen a comment in a while!

  • Reply
    Tipper
    March 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    B.Ruth is this what you were talking about: Tipper, 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
    Charline
    March 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Oh, so that’s what they are- thanks, as always.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Tipper,
    As I was waiting for something to come on on the TV I was interested in, the radio station at Murphy was playing “Down the Escalante” by Paul and Pap. The DJ lady said she just loved that song as her program ended at 2:00…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 3, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    My Daddy always told me that if I was out when a thunderstorm hit, to get in a building if I could or get under the biggest tree I could find. (Note I said biggest, not tallest!) He said that if I was exposed the lightening could hit and kill me. But, if I was under a big tree, it would absorb the energy and the roots would carry it into the ground.
    I had heard that beech trees didn’t get struck by lightening. I have one little beech tree on my property and haven’t seen any others in the neighborhood. Most of the forested land in my area has been cut over many times and it mostly pines and scrubby oaks.
    I don’t ever remember eating beech nuts. I wonder if Beech-Nut Chewing tobacco tastes like them. I have to go out after while. I think I will buy myself some and see what it tastes like. I have never chewed tobacco before but if I can find one that tastes like nuts I might take it up.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Tipper,
    When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t wait to get home and get under some huge Beechnut trees to get some squirrels for supper. My brother and I shared a .22 single shot rifle and we had to make each shot count. We’d wait for the squirrels to come out of the several knot holes before lowering the boom. We usually got about 6 squirrels for supper, and daddy taught us just how to shoot straight. I remember one time on Wesser Creek, daddy had a squirrel peeping around a tree at him and he shot it’s eye out. I thank God I had a daddy to teach me how to do things…Ken

  • Reply
    Jeanie
    March 3, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I too have enjoyed the beech trees are n winter when the sun seems to light them up like Christmas lights. Interesting that they don’t get hit by lightning although I don’t think I want to test it out by standing beneath one.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    March 3, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Interesting fact about the tree never being struck by lightning! There was a huge beechnut tree at the edge of the playground where I went to elementary school. It’s a wonder the students still have teeth after cracking so many of the small, odd shaped and delicious nuts during recess. The merry-go-round and see-saw was not the reason we ran to that corner of the school yard.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 3, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Tipper,
    Remember the little line I wrote about the beech trees that was included in one of my comments a few years ago? Wish I could find it….
    The Beech trees still dance thru our woods…occasionally a young stray tree seed pops up from our Magnolia and they step across the spring as it peeps dark green around a large Oak…Soon the Sarvis petticoat will bend down as the March low winds shift some of the dry woodland debris around.
    The stronger breeze exposes the Little Brown jug to the fresh warm filtering sun of a new spring for the greening of their heart shaped leaves…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS Chilly here with scattered snow flurries…..but a high of 73 predicted for next Wednesday! YEA!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 3, 2016 at 8:51 am

    To foresters, beech is classed as a ‘shade tolerant’ tree as are hemlock and sugar maple. They will establish and persist underneath a closed canopy of other species for years and years but still respond with growth if they are ‘released’ by removal of the overstory. Beech is on a trend of increase (except where being killed by beech bark scale) throughout the SE US. It is responding to the death of the big oaks in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, slowly transitioning those woods away from oak. Back in the day when the woods were burned for range, beech was suppressed because its bark is thin and cannot withstand much heat.
    But enough of technicality. I also like their coppery leaves hanging on through the winter and into the spring. There is a holler no far from us with a fairly dense understory of beech.
    A good place to look for beech nuts is where beech overhangs a graveled area. They are easy to find then.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    March 3, 2016 at 8:31 am

    When mature beech trees drop seeds to the forest floor around base of the tree, seedlings spring up and are known as “little son-of-a beeches”.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Tipper–A few additional observations on beech trees.
    *It’s primarily the younger trees that cling to their leaves right through the winter. Older, mature trees shed them much earlier. You’ll notice that in your fine photo all the beech trees are young.
    *The nuts are indeed delicious, although there are two problems in that regard-. First, they only “make” every four or five years. Other years the burr and nut hull will form but there’s no meat inside. Secondly, it takes a bunch of work just to get a bite.
    *Critters absolutely love the nuts. Turkeys will ignore any and all other mast or food sources for the nuts, and in the fall the understory beneath a beech tree that has made nuts looks like someone has made repeated passes with a rototiller. Bears, squirrels, deer, ground squirrels, boomers, etc. also eat them with gusto.
    *I’m surprised you didn’t mention the way the slick bark lends itself to decoration–usually vows of eternal love but also occasional information such as what Daniel Boone left somewhere along the Nolichucky River or in that area of what is now upper East Tennessee–“D. Boone kilt a bar here” (or something near that). Find a really big beech, even way out in the woods, and chances are pretty good it will show some carving.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    March 3, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Tipper, I can always count on you to teach me something new. Trees are so very interesting. and I always loved to help collect the leaves for the fall projects for children in the family. I appreciate the local school having this project, as it is sometimes the only opportunity the local children have to learn about nature.
    Through the 4th grade I attended a little three room country school in a hillside. We children loved to play in the woods behind and collect the beechnuts. We would spend the entire recess combing the woods. We didn’t need swings nor slides with a beautiful hillside full of grapevines and trees. The beechnuts were so easy for children’s small hands to peel and eat.
    I remember the water was off at the school one day. All the children seemed to take a great sudden interest in drinking water from a pump in a yard below the school. We all got in trouble when our wonderful principal Jody Boston, got us all together, and she taught us about germs for the first time.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    March 3, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Tipper,
    Thanks for another great and informative post. I learn so much from you. Every week you introduce me to another book, song, musician I wasn’t aware of. I’m going to add Brown to my summer reading list.
    You should teach a class. I’d take it!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 3, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Tip, I’ve also been noticing the beech trees the last couple of weeks. It’s not so much their leaves that have had my attention its their tall straight bodies glowing silver in the sunlight. There is a patch of them on the road home that talk to me every day . They say ” look how the sun reflects through my armor, spring is coming!”

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