BEECH. Fagus. One of the loftiest trees of the American forests, and widely distributed. The beech likes a deep, rich, moist soil, in favora ble situations sometimes an immense size, even to . four and five feet in diameter. Fa.gus sylvatica is the European variety, and F. ferrugina (Red Beech), the variety usually • found in our forests. The beech belongs to the natural botanical order (Cupulifera), and is de scribed as follows: Staminate flowers numerous, in globose, pedunculate, pendulous catkins; fer tile flowers in pairs, on a short peduncle, in an avoid, prickly mvolticre; pistil, with the base covared by the calyx; styles three, awl-shaped; the nut triangular. Fagus ferrugina (American Beech), leaves are oblong, ovate, taper-pointed, distinctly and often coarsely toothed; petioles and midrib nearly naked; prickles of the fruit reeurved or spreading. The beech is one of the most beautiful trees of the forest, and some of the nursery-grown varieties highly ornamental. The illustration we give will show the general characteristics fo the species, when grown singly, but also one of the most ornamental forms. It
can, however, hardly be recommended for forest planting, since its wood quickly decays if ex posed to alternate wet and dry. Its wood is firm, hard grained, compact, and when well seasoned does not warp, and is much used for shoe lasts, the wood of planes and other mechan ical tools. The nuts are triangular in shape like buckwheat, small, and should, if intended for germination, be preserved in moist sand until planted. The beech is a superficial rooted tree, and if the trees be cut down in winter sprouts are thrown up the next spring. Thus the beech, like the chestnut, is easily renewed. i The wood is liable to the attacks of insects, is inferior to the maple for fuel, but yields a large amount of potash in its ashes. The bark con tains sufficient tannin for tanning leather, but is not used extensively for this purpose.