American Beech

(Fagus grandiflora) Deciduous tree. Smooth, light gray bark. Foliage turns yellow- bronze in fall. Casts dense shade. The leaves are 2 to 5-1/2 inches long, oblong, tapered to a point, and are toothed. The small flowers are inconspicuous. The male flowers are in small clusters on drooping stalks. The females are in pairs on shorter, thicker stalks. The fruit is a triangular nut enclosed in a spiny cover that remains on the tree long after the nuts have fallen. The wood is used for veneer and furniture. Many feel it necessary to carve their initials into the bark. 130 feet max.

Virginia history and tourism: between Richmond and Williamsburg lies Sherwood Forest Plantation, the home of the 10th U.S. President, John Tyler.