Fagus hohenackeri Palib. ex Grossh.
Fagus hohenackeriana Palib.
Fagus macrophylla (Hohen. ex A.DC.) Koidz.
Fagus pyramidalis Litv.
Fagus sieboldii asiatica (A.DC.) Koehne
Fagus sieboldii macrophylla (Hohen. ex A.DC.) Koehne
Fagus sylvatica asiatica A.DC.
Fagus sylvatica macrophylla Hohen. ex A.DC.
Fagus sylvatica orientalis (Lipsky) Greuter & Burdet
Common Name: Oriental Beech
Fagus orientalis is a deciduous tree with a large, dense crown; it usually grows 30 - 40 metres tall, occasionally reaching 50 metres. The bole can be around 100cm in diameter[
The tree provides a good quality timber and is also harvested from the wild as a food and source of materials.
The seeds of the various species of beech are generaly edible and wholesome. However, they do contain a saponic glycoside and, if eaten in quantity (especially if eaten raw), they can cause stomach upsets[
Southeastern Europe - Bulgaria, Greece, eastern Turkey; W. Asia - Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus
Broadleaved, mixed broadleaved-coniferous forests, sometimes forming pure stands, favouring moist, fertile forest soils[
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Fagus orientalis is a very cold-hardy tree, tolerating temperatures down to around -25°c when dormant[
Grows best in a sunny position, though young trees are also very shade tolerant, surviving in deep woodland shade for several years and then able to grow fairly rapidly if an opening occurs. Thrives on a light or medium soil[
], doing well on chalk[
], but ill-adapted for heavy wet soils[
]. The new growth in spring, especially on young plants, is very subject to frost damage - growing small plants in the dappled shade of a woodland is usually sufficient to protect them[
]. Fairly tolerant of most conditions, this is the most successful non-native species of Fagus in Britain[
Hybridizes in nature with Fagus sylvatica[
Large yields of seed are not obtainable annually but rather in 5 - 10 -year cycles[
]. A good seed crop of oriental beech occurs about every 2 - 5 years[
Large mature trees at Kew produced a very good crop of seed in 1999[
Young leaves - raw. A very nice mild flavour, but the leaves quickly become tough so only the youngest should be used. New growth is usually produced for 2 periods of 3 weeks each year, one in spring and one in mid-summer.
Seed - raw or cooked. Rich in oil. The seed should not be eaten raw in large quantities. It can be dried and ground into a powder and then used with cereal flours when making bread, cakes etc. The seeds are small triangular nuts 15 - 20mm long and 7 - 10mm wide at the base; there are two nuts enclosed in a spiky cupule[
An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[
]. Beech nuts contain a considerable amount of valuable oil which is extracted by pressing. Apart from its applications for food, this oil is used as adulterant for walnut, poppy, or olive oil[
Beech trees generally have surface-feeding roots and also cast a dense shade - this greatly inhibits the growth of other plants and, especially where a number of the trees are growing together, the ground beneath them is often almost devoid of vegetation[
A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed by pressing. It can be used as a fuel for lighting, as a lubricant, for polishing wood etc[
The wood has a very high caloric value. On dry distillation it yields alcohol and creosote[
The wood is heavy, hard, strong and highly resistant to shock. Thus, it is suitable for steam bending[
]. A very good quality wood, it is widely used for a variety of purposes including bent (so-called Viennese) cabinet work, oars, shoe lasts, small articles for domestic use, spoons, trays, etc. It is also employed in boat construction (keels) and carriage construction (wheel spokes, etc.). Beech staves are made into containers for oil. For this purpose only so-called "white" beech is used, since "red" beech imparts to the oil a bitter taste and a dark colour. These differences in the wood are due to the formation of so-called false heartwood as a result of fungal infection. Such modified wood (normally no heartwood is produced) becomes permeated with tannic substances that bring about the darkening[
The wood is an excellent fuel, burning well and giving off a lot of heat.
Seed - the seed has a short viability and is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Protect the seed from mice. Germination takes place in the spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seedlings are slow growing for the first few years and are very susceptible to damage by late frosts.
The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seedbed in the autumn. The seedlings can be left in the open ground for three years before transplanting, but do best if put into their final positions as soon as possible and given some protection from spring frosts.