leaves are oval, 4-9 cm long and are borne alternately
on the twigs. They are silky and hairy when young, but this is soon
lost. The margins are untoothed and slightly wavy or have a few blunt
teeth. The stalk is short, about 10 mm long.
Beech is a tall
up to 40 m in height with a straight, clean trunk. It is commonest
on lime-rich soils and is widely planted throughout the UK.
The trees and
the ground below them may be covered in the prickly husks, each containing
two nutlets, which develop from tiny female flowers.
The bark is grey
and smooth, but may break into small squares.
and those trimmed for hedges retain their leaves throughout the
Beech wood can
be turned easily and is ideal for making chairs
in the Chilterns were called 'bodgers' and once worked in the woods
turning the legs on primitive lathes. This is a craft that has recently
been reintroduced in some rural areas of the UK.