Beech trees are located on the northern boundary of the park , huge trees of 40 inches in diameter or greater.

American Beech, Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.

 

Fagaceae -- Beech family

Carl H. Tubbs and David R. Houston

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is the only species of this genus in North America. Although beech is now confined to the eastern United States (except for the Mexican population) it once extended as far west as California and probably flourished over most of North America before the glacial period (39). This slow-growing, common, deciduous tree reaches its greatest size in the alluvial soils of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and may attain ages of 300 to 400 years. Beech wood is excellent for turning and steam bending. It wears well, is easily treated with preservatives, and is used for flooring, furniture, veneer, and containers. The distinctive triangular nuts are eaten by people and are an important food for wildlife.

 

Habitat

Native Range

American beech is found within an area from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia west to Maine, southern Quebec, southern Ontario, northern Michigan, and eastern Wisconsin; then south to southern Illinois, southeastern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, southeastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas; east to northern Florida and northeast to southeastern South Carolina. A variety exists in the mountains of northeastern Mexico.

Special Uses

Beech mast is palatable to a large variety of birds and mammals, including mice, squirrels, chipmunks, black bear, deer, foxes, ruffed grouse, ducks, and bluejays. Beech is the only nut producer in the northern hardwood type. Beech wood is used for flooring, furniture, turned products and novelties, veneer, plywood, railroad ties, baskets, pulp, charcoal, and rough lumber. It is especially favored for fuelwood because of its high density and good burning qualities.

Creosote made from beech wood is used internally and externally as a medicine for various human and animal disorders. (It is important to note that coal tar creosote, the kind used to protect wood from rots, is highly toxic to humans.)

[HOME]