Beech The tree
Today beech forest can only be found in Skåne. Up to the 11th century there were large beech forests in all of south Sweden, as far north as Mälardalen, and solitary trees still grow there.
The leaves are slightly rounded with wavy margin. When young, leaves are downy and light green, turning dark and glossy with age. It flowers first when 40 years old, the fruits, acorns, are called beech nuts. The trunk is grey, smooth and straight. The trees grow 30 – 50 meters high and get 400 years old but are normally felled when 100 – 120 years.
The beech prefers shade and soils rich in minerals and lime.
Freshly cut the wood is whitish yellow, turning grey if air dried or reddish if kiln dried. It is heavy, hard, durable, easy to split and taste- and odor less.
Traditionally beech has been used for coopering, implements, kitchen utensils and carriages. It is not suitable for outdoor use, although sometimes used for piles immersed in water.
Today beech is one of the most popular woods in office interiors. It is used in the furniture industry since it is very suitable for steam bending and for wooden floors, joinery work, lollipop sticks, toys and pulp.
Did you know that:
- The acorn’s oil was used as lamp oil, in soap production and to cure wounds.
- The acorns also were important feed for pigs.
- Beech is sought-after firewood and gives an excellent charcoal.
- The beech was a holy tree, protecting against witch craft and misfortune.