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Fagus grandifolia – Wikipedia

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– Fagus grandifolia is a large deciduous tree growing to 16–35 metres (52–115 feet) tall with smooth, silver-gray bark.
– Leaves are dark green, simple, and sparsely-toothed with small teeth that terminate each vein, 6–12 centimetres (2+14–4+34 inches) long.
– Winter twigs are distinctive, long, and slender with two rows of overlapping scales on the buds.
– The tree is monoecious, with flowers of both sexes on the same tree.
– Reproduction occurs through seedlings dispersal and root sprouts.

– Trees in the southern half of the range are sometimes distinguished as a variety, F.grandifolia var. caroliniana.
– Mexican beech (F.grandifolia subsp. mexicana) is closely related and treated as a subspecies of American beech.
– Fagus grandifolia is believed to have spanned the width of the North American continent before the last ice age.
– Two generally recognized subspecies are Fagus grandifolia subsp. grandifolia and Fagus grandifolia subsp. mexicana.

– The genus name Fagus is Latin for beech.
– The specific epithet grandifolia means large leaf, referring to the American beech’s larger leaves compared to the European beech.

Distribution and Habitat:
– American beech is native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario in Canada, and south to Texas and Florida in the United States.
– It is shade-tolerant and commonly found in forests in the final stage of succession.
– Often associated with sugar maple, yellow birch, and eastern hemlock in moist, well-drained slopes and rich bottomlands.
– American beech favors well-watered and well-drained spots and is intolerant of urban pollution, salt, and soil compaction.
– It has a dense, shallow root system and high moisture requirements.

– American beech mast provides food for various species, including birds, raccoons, deer, rabbits, squirrels, and bears.
Beech nuts were a primary food of the now-extinct passenger pigeon.
– Some Lepidoptera caterpillars feed on beeches, and deer occasionally browse on beech foliage.
– The clearing of beech and oak forests contributed to the extinction of the passenger pigeon.
– American beech trees provide habitat for wildlife due to the cavities that develop in mature trunks.

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