In my post last week I wrote about several of the trees that you can easily identify on the Bent Twig Trail by their bark. However, I forgot to include one of the most common on this trail: the Amercian Beech, Fagus grandifolia. Often growing in association with maple trees, our native beech trees have light gray bark that ranges in texture from smooth enough to tempt some to carve their initials (please don’t) to rough and wrinkled like elephant hide.
I wrote about beech trees in earlier posts on this blog, but since then, I’ve also learned that burnt beech wood has been used to add a smoky flavor to some German beers, and that a type of liqueur can be made by steeping young beech leaves in gin. So you might say that beech trees have a “spirited” nature. On your next visit to Bernheim see if you can locate beech trees in the woods by their bark. While you’re here be sure to check out our lovely European Weeping Beeches, Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’. As you drive back out towards the entrance, these beauties will be in a grove on your right. I’m sure you will agree that their form is especially stunning in the winter when their curving branches are bare and highlighted by snow.
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