DALS WILDLIFE SITE { WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN ENGLAND}

WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN ENGLAND

Know tree leaves  {4} Beech {recognizing trees by their foliage}

Know tree leaves -4 Beech.  { recognizing trees by their foliage}  is a guide by images and pictures and detailed text for people who want to recognize tree species. It is the way many beginners start their recognition progress. Here we look at the beech tree having already covered Oaks-{1] Elms {2} and Limes {3}

Courtesy of Evgeniy Yurukov    CC By -SA 2.5 generic license. { Bulgaria}

The Beech Tree,   Fagus sylvatica

The driest part of any woodland floor is beneath the Beech. The leaves which have fallen form a thick stratum which tends to have a crackling sound when you tread upon them.  The lower most are fast treading into the earth which provides most of the elemental substance. Those immediately above are dry and brown,while those have have just fallen in the autumn,are still painted with patches of colour which have not yet changed into the complete hue of the 'dead 'season.

The thin, hard, polished ,oval and pointed leaf of the beech is like those of no other forest tree. The crackling texture when touched gives one more a feeling of thin tin than soft vegetable tissue. This crackling texture is much more in evidence in the autumnal leaves  that have fell and lie dry without any moisture upon them

Venation {network of veins} of the leaf.

Even more prominent than the venation of the Elm leaf { 2 } is that of the beech. The mid-rib which continues from the short stem giving origin,on each side of it,to branched veins  which run to the slightly waved margins,with marked regularity and in nearly straight and parallel lines. Very often the opposite branches start from the same point of the mid -vein. Each opposite branch forming ,with it,an acute angle and giving a very symmetrical appearance to the venation. However, more frequently the opposite vein branches proceed in alternation from the central vein.

There is a slight variation in the character of the venation. The veins and branches being some times almost straight at other times more or less wavy 

Beautiful autumn gold of the beech tree.

Courtesy of Andrew Dunn. Permission by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 generic license.

Autumn colours of the beech

Gilpin, wrote on this subject " Sometimes it is dressed in modest brown,but generally in glowing orange; and in both dresses; its harmony with the grove is pleasing. About the end of September when the leaf begins to change it makes an happy contrast with the Oak {1}, whose foliage is yet verdant. Some of the finest oppositions in tints, which perhaps the forest can furnish, arise from the combination of the Oak and Beech. We often see a wonderful effect from this union."

" And yet,as accommodating as the leaf is in landscape,on handling it it feels like  as if it were fabricating with metallic rigour 

The variety of tints in the autumn beech is almost endless and sometimes as with the foliage of the Oak and Elm, a flush of golden colour appears to suffuce the green surface of the leaf. At other times the colour is so graduated that green lines or bands appear to lie together  in parallel and alternate order-the bands or markings generally taking the direction of the veins,that is to say a direction diagonal to the mid-vein and giving a striped appearance to the leaf..

In this,as in other cases,it is generally noticeable that the autumn tinting  first commences in the parallel spaces which lie between the veins-the veins themselves,and the cellular tissues which cover them, being the last to give up the normal green hue. hence the alternate appearance of green and orange,orange or light brown or reddish fiery brown- for the green lines of the veins separate the other and discolouring portions of the leaf.

At other times the colouring commences at one end or one side of the leaf and then spreads to the opposite side or end until the uniformity of hue prevails over the whole surface. Bit between the kinds of colouring just indicated there are others giving as we have seen almost endless varieties,and variety which may be observed by close examination, upon not merely the same tree but upon the same branch. 

The natural lustre of the beech leaf ,its gloss and finish lend additional attraction to its loveliness of its autumn tinting. But when all those delicate shades are gone melted into the pervading and final hue, the fiery colour of brown is still striking and beautiful in the mass,especially when thrown out in strong relief against either the still green leaves which by chance may still cloth the branches of a near by beech or by the persistent greenery in the Oak.

Various stages of developing colours

Dals wildlifesite.

Beech Produces fine autumnal displays

Courtesy of Des Colhoun Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 generic licence. geograph.co.uk

Beech beautiful image of a  tree in spring foliage.

Courtesy of Malene Tyhssen CC BY -SA 3.0 unported license 

The fresh young foliage of spring

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