The beech is a deciduous tree. You can find them in the middle of Europe: from the south of Sweden to the south of Italy. It grows best on rather fertile soil, which can also be slightly acidic or calcified. Only one special species grows in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, namely the common beech. It is the most common deciduous tree here. It got its name from the slightly reddish color of its wood. But because it is the only species here, it is also called beech for short. In other countries, another ten types of beech grow, for example, the notched beech, the oriental beech, or the Taiwan beech. Together they form the genus of beeches.
A red beech can grow up to 45 meters high. The leaves are egg-shaped and grow so densely that it is very dark under the tree. Smaller plants, therefore, have a hard time in beech forests. The beeches themselves quickly suffer from rot. This is a problem for cultivation.
The fruits of a beech tree are called beechnuts. They are somewhat toxic to humans, but many animals will eat them with no problem, such as birds, squirrels, or mice. With this, they spread the seeds in the beechnuts.
Beeches live to be 200 to 300 years old. People like to grow them in a forest, because the wood is not only used to make furniture, stairs, and parquet floors but also children’s toys, cooking spoons, brushes, and much more.
Beechwood is also very popular for burning. In the open fireplace, it doesn’t produce any crackers because it hardly contains any resin. So it burns very quietly and regularly and gives off a lot of heat. Much charcoal is made from beech. You need them today for grilling, in the past, you needed them for forging, making glass, or making steel in a blast furnace.