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Fagus sylvatica L.

Common Beech

Modern name

Fagus sylvatica L.

A deciduous tree up to 100 ft high, occasionally almost 150 ft, with a smooth grey trunk, sometimes of enormous thickness – 6 to 8 ft through; young shoots at first silky-hairy, soon becoming glabrous. Leaves with five to nine pairs of veins, oval, inclined to ovate, pointed, unequally rounded at the base, ordinarily 2 to 312 in. long, 112 to 212 in. wide, but as much as 5 in. by 3 in., obscurely toothed or merely unevenly undulated at the margin, midrib and veins hairy, especially beneath; stalk downy, 14 to 12 in. long. Nuts triangular, 58 in. long, usually a pair enclosed in a hard, woody, pear-shaped, four-lobed husk, covered with bristles and 34 to 1 in. long, solitary on an erect downy stalk about as long as itself.

Native of Europe, including most of southern England (planted and naturalised elsewhere in the British Isles). Few trees are more pleasing than a well-grown beech, either in the wide, spreading form it takes when growing in an isolated position, or when, in close association with others of its kind, and drawn up by them, it forms a tall, smooth, column-like trunk. The largest of the former kind in Britain was the famous beech at Newbattle Abbey, 100 ft high, 130 ft in diameter, the trunk 21 ft in girth; of this only a layer now remains. Of the latter the finest was in Ashridge Park, Bucks, known as the ‘Queen Beech’ – 130 to 140 ft high. The young foliage of the beech is one of the most beautiful objects in nature in May – a tender shimmering green of a shade not quite matched by any other tree.

Of the notable trees mentioned by Elwes and Henry, only Pontey’s beech at Woburn has been traced. In 1837, according to Loudon, its dimensions were 100 × 1212 ft at 4 ft, with a clear bole of 50 ft; in 1903 it was the same height and 1412 ft in girth (Elwes and Henry measurement); a Forestry Commission measurement for 1956 was 110 × 1614 ft. The following specimens have been recorded in recent years: Kew, east of Lake, 105 × 1434 ft, clear bole 20 ft (1965); Kenwood House, Highgate, London, 100 × 1812 ft and 110 × 1314 ft (1964); Welford Park, Berks, 105 × 17 ft (1966); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, in the Valley, 80 × 1634 ft, and by the Lake, 100 × 1614 ft (1965); Handcross Park, Sussex, 95 × 23 ft (pollard) (1961); Beauport Park, Sussex, 91 × 19 ft (1965); Knole Park, Kent, 115 × 1812 ft (1969); Eridge Park, Kent, 80 × 26 ft (pollard) (1958); Bramshill Park, Hants, 90 × 20 ft (1965); Tottenham House, Savernake, Wilts, 110 × 1434 ft, clear bole 40 ft, and another 100 × 1514 ft (1967); London Ride, Savernake, 100 × 16 ft and 110 × 16 ft (1967); Wilton House, Wilts, 115 × 1912 ft (1961); Longleat, Wilts, 118 × 2012 ft (1971); Westonbirt House, Glos., 100 × 1614 ft (1967); Kingscote Wood, Glos., 129 × 1634 ft (1961); Nettlecombe, Som., 75 × 2312 ft (pollard) (1959); Woolverston Hall, Ipswich, 95 × 20 ft (1968); Dunscombe Park, Yorks, 134 × 1612 ft (1956); Bramham Park, Yorks, 100 × 2412 ft (pollard) (1958); Studley Royal, Yorks, 125 × 1434 ft (1966); Yester House, E. Lothian, 105 × 2014 ft, clear bole 20 ft (1967); Galloway House, Wigtons., 100 × 1834 ft (1967); Elioch, Dumfr., 75 × 1934 ft (1954); Blairquhan, Ayrs., 94 × 17 ft (1954); Canon House, Dingwall, Ross, 95 × 2514 ft (pollard) (1956); Headfort, Co. Meath, Eire, 125 × 1514 ft (1966).

The beech has produced many varieties, some of which have first been noticed in gardens, others in the wild. The following is a selection of the more important:

cv. ‘Albomarginata’. – Leaves margined with white (Gard. Chron., Vol. 26 (1899), p. 434). A tree at Kew with narrowish, white-margined leaves has largely reverted. There are other variants with leaves blotched and striped with white, for which the collective name is F. s. f. albo-variegata (West.) Domin.

cv. ‘Ansorgei’. – A shrubby variety with brownish purple, lanceolate, almost entire leaves 38 to 34 in. wide. It is a hybrid between a purple beech and some form of cut-leaved beech, which according to Schwerin was F. s. comptoniifolia (see under ‘Asplenifolia’). Raised by Ansorge at the Flottbeck nurseries, Hamburg.

cv. ‘Asplenifolia’. Fern-leaved Beech. – Of all the forms of beech marked by differences in shape of leaf, this is the handsomest. In this variety the leaf assumes various shapes; sometimes it is long and narrow (4 in. long by 14 in. wide), sometimes deeply and pinnately lobed, some of the lobes penetrating to the midrib; between these two, numerous intermediate shapes occur, often on the same branch. Unlike many of the varieties of beech with curious foliage, this makes a fine shapely tree, and it is a distinct ornament to any garden.

The common fern-leaved beech of British gardens is very consistent in its characters and may well represent a single clone. Two further features of this tree are the sprays of linear leaves produced at the ends of most of the season’s growths; and the twiggy bunches of shoots that sprout from the branches inside the crown. It tends to revert here and there but it is on the whole stable. It is almost certainly the same as the F. sylvatica asplenifolia of Loddiges’ nursery, who listed it in their catalogue for 1804. A tree in the Knap Hill nursery, believed to have come from France in 1826, belongs to this variety. This tree measures 54 × 1112 ft (1961); the largest trees in Britain, although probably younger, are taller than this (up to 80 ft or slightly more high) and some are larger in girth (up to 13 ft).

In Britain, the fern-leaved beech has usually been known as F. sylvatica beterophylla, but Loudon, who published this name, placed under it, in addition to asplenifolia, another beech listed by Loddiges as F. s. laciniata. So it seems preferable to revert to the original name, which is, after all, the Latin equivalent of the common name, and the one used by continental authorities. Rehder included the fern-leaved beech in f. laciniata (q.v.) but it is very distinct from the beech originally described under that name.

Other variants are known which bear some resemblance to the common fern-leaved beech. In Arboretum Muscaviense (1864), Kirchner mentions F. sylvatica ‘Comptoniifolia’, with finer foliage than in ‘Asplenifolia’. There are two specimens in the Kew Herbarium which answer to this description in that they have a greater proportion of linear leaves and the lobed leaves are very slender.

Fagus atropunicea See f. purpurea.

cv. ‘Aurea Pendula’. – Leaves yellow when young, the colouring best developed in a shady situation. It is a sport from the slender, erect growing form of weeping beech, and was raised by J. G. van der Bom at Oudenbosch, Holland, shortly before 1900.

cv. ‘Aurea Variegata’. – Leaves margined with golden yellow (Gard. Chron., Vol. 26 (1899) p. 434). A beech under this name was listed earlier by the Lawson Company, Edinburgh. William Paul of Waltham Cross had a gold, margined beech which he called F. s. foliis aureis and claimed to be the best of the variegated beeches. It may be the same as ‘Paul’s Gold-margined’, which received an Award of Merit in 1902 (Gard. Chron. (1867), p. 237; Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 27, xcii). The name for gold-variegated beeches in general is F. s. f. luteo-variegata (West.) Domin.

cv. ‘Bornyensis’. – A small tree with very pendulous branches reaching to the ground and forming a densely-leaved cone. The original tree grew in a garden near the church at Borny in France and is believed to have come from a neighbouring forest; it was 35 ft in 1910. It was propagated by Simon-Louis Frères, and the largest example at Kew came from that firm in 1900.

cv. ‘Cochleata’. – Leaves concave beneath, broadest above the middle tapering to an acute base; margins with small, pointed, slightly toothed lobules, best developed near the apex. It was in commerce by 1842 (Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Trees and Shrubs, p. 1118). A similar beech was distributed by Simon-Louis Frères as F. s. undulata.

cv. ‘Cristata’. – Leaves bunched, very shortly stalked, coarsely triangular-toothed, crumpled, the apex decurved. In commerce by 1836; also known as F. s. crispa. The largest specimen of this variety on record grows at Chiddingly, Horsted Keynes, Sussex; it measures 80 × 634 ft (1967). There are other examples of a good size at Wakehurst Place, Sussex; Hergest Croft, Heref.; and Capenoch, Dumfries.

cv. ‘Cuprea’. See under f. purpurea.

cv. ‘Dawyck’. – The original tree of this well-known fastigiate variety grows in the garden of Lt-Col. A. Balfour at Dawyck, Peeblesshire, and now measures 82 × 8 ft (1966). It is believed to have originated in the woods there and to have been moved to its present position by the house around the middle of the last century, at which time the property belonged to the Nasmyth family. The tree first came to notice early this century when F. R. S. Balfour, the new owner of Dawyck, distributed scions to Kew and other gardens, around 1907. Scions were also given to Herr Hesse, of Weener, Hanover, and it was he who first described the Dawyck beech in 1912 and his firm that first distributed it commercially.

The Dawyck beech is usually known as ‘Fastigiata’, but this name belongs to some fastigiate beech cultivated by Simon-Louis Frères and mentioned by Koch in his Dendrologie (Vol. 2, part 2 (1873), p. 17).

cv. ‘Fastigiata’. See cv. ‘Dawyck’.

cv. ‘Foliis Variegatis’. – According to Loudon, the beech distributed by Loddiges under this name had ‘the leaves variegated with white and yellow, interspersed with some streaks of red and purple’.

cv. ‘Grandidentata’. – Leaves coarsely but regularly toothed, cuneate at the base, slightly concave beneath. Perhaps a branch-sport from a fern-leaved beech. The fine specimen at Kew came from James Booth’s nurseries at Flottbeck near Hamburg in 1872 and almost certainly represents the true clone.

var. heterophylla Loud. See cv. ‘Asplenifolia’.

f. laciniata (Pers.) Domin F. s. var. laciniata Vignet ex Pers.; F. laciniata F. W. Schmidt, nom. event.; F. s. f. quercifolia Schneid; F. s. var. heterophylla Loud., in part; F. s. quercoides Kirchn., not Pers. – Leaves ovate-lanceolate, cuneate at the base, slenderly tapered at the apex, deeply and regularly serrated, the serrations seven to nine on each side, acute, the sinuses extending about one-third of the way to the midrib. This variant was noticed around 1792 as a branch-sport on a hedging beech, growing on the Tetschen estate in the mountains between Bohemia and Saxony. It was described by Vignet in 1795 (in F. W. Schmidt’s Samml. Phys.-Oekon. Aufs., Vol. 1, pp. 175-83) and the above description is made from the excellent figure accompanying the article. Vignet did not actually name this variety but Persoon did so in 1800 (Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., Vol. 5, p. 232). Whether this sport was ever propagated and distributed cannot be ascertained, though Vignet evidently expected that it would be, and F. W. Schmidt, the Bohemian botanist, added a footnote saying that this beech, which he too had seen, would no doubt shortly be appearing in nursery catalogues under the name F. laciniata. The cultivar-name for the original clone would be ‘Laciniata’.

A tree at Kew, received in 1930 under the name F. s. quercifolia, agrees very well with Vignet’s figure. So too does a beech grown under the same name in the Trompenburg Arboretum, Rotterdam, judging from a specimen of the leaves kindly sent by Mr Hoey-Smith. There are three other beeches at Kew, also received as F. s. quercifolia, which should probably be referred to the f. laciniata, though they have leaves rather more deeply incised than in the type and occasionally produce a few narrow, undivided leaves at the tips of the shoots, in these respects inclining towards ‘Asplenifolia’ (q.v.).

f. latifolia Kirchn. F. sylvatica var. macrophylla Dipp., not Hohenacker – This appears to be the correct designation for trees which bear larger leaves than normal but in other characters resemble the common beech. In 1898, the King of Denmark’s gardener sent to Kew a variety that has been called ‘Prince George of Crete’. When young these trees had leaves up to 7 in. long, 512 in. wide, but they are now somewhat smaller, though still strikingly large. The possibility has been considered that this variety is a hybrid with F. orientalis, but judging from its fruits this is not the case.

cv. ‘Miltonensis’. – This weeping beech was described in a letter to Loudon from the Rev. M. J. Berkeley, dated June 2, 1837, informing him that in ‘one of the plantations bordering Milton Park, the seat of Earl Fitzwilliam, in Northamptonshire, there is a beautiful accidental variety of the beech… . The branches are beautifully pendent, and even the last six feet of the top bend down. Mr Henderson, the very intelligent gardener, has propagated it by grafts’ (Loudon, Arb. et Frut. Brit., Vol. 3, p. 1953, and Vol. 8, plate LXX B). A grafted tree, probably one of the original propagations, still grows in the Pleasure Grounds at Milton Hall and is portrayed in Qtly. Journ. For., Vol. 65 (1971), p. 176. In the accompanying letter Mr S. Egar gives the height of the tree as 45 ft from base to bend of leaders, and the girth 734 ft at breast-height. The tree is branched to the ground and has layered itself.

Loudon expressed the hope that ‘so splendid a variety will… soon find its way into the public nurseries’. It may have done so, but the three grafted trees at Kew received from James Booth of Hamburg in 1872 and 1876 are not the Milton variety, though they came as F. s. miltonensis. One has gracefully drooping branches, but is not truly pendulous; one scarcely differs from any common beech; the third is intermediate. All have roundish, smooth-edged leaves and a distinctive bark, in which the normal grey bark is broken into small angular patches by a network of raised ridges, Judging from Jouin’s description, the Milton variety distributed by Simon-Louis was also not the true clone but more probably the common pendulous beech of British collections.

cv. ‘Pagnyensis’. – This variety was found near Pagny in the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, where it was known as the tordu-fou (‘twisted beech’, fou being a dialect name for beech). Like so many of the interesting wild variants of beech found in France it was propagated by Simon-Louis Frères and according to Jouin, manager of their tree nursery, it had a wide umbrella-shaped crown and did not rise much above the ground if grafted low. ‘Retroflexa’, distributed by the same firm, was said to be similar.

f. pendula [Loud.] Schelle F. s. var. pendula Lodd. ex Loud. – There are several types of weeping beech. The one best known under the name pendula is not a high tree, but sends out its great arms in a horizontal or drooping direction; from these the smaller branches depend almost vertically, the whole making a tent-like mass. There are examples at Kew near the Broad Walk and in the Beech collection. This form of weeping beech is almost certainly the one distributed by Loddiges early last century and therefore the one for which the cultivar name ‘Pendula’ should be used. But there is another pendulous beech, also known as F. s. pendula, which is perhaps commoner on the continent than here. It is quite distinct from the tent-like clone, being slender in habit with the main branches pendent. This seems to be the F. s. pendula of Kirchner, of which there were already old trees in Germany when he described it in 1864 (in Arboretum Muscaviense). Two trees at Westonbirt facing the main gate to Westonbirt School are of this type. In addition there is the famous weeping beech at the Knap Hill nurseries, which is believed to have come from France in 1826. This tree, which has formed a small copse by self-layering, is certainly not the same as our tent-like pendula, but it is hard to judge its true character, for it grows in a soil and climate unfavourable to the best development of beech. Grown in better conditions it might prove to be the same as the pendula of Kirchner.

cv. ‘Prince George of Crete’. See under f. latifolia.

f. purpurea (Ait.) Schneid. F. s. var. purpurea Ait.; F. s. f. atropurpurea Kirchn. Purple Beech. – Leaves deep purple when mature; of a beautiful pale red in spring. This is by far the most popular of the varieties of beech. It is not of garden origin, but appears to have been observed growing naturally in at least three places, viz.: in the Hanleiter Forest, near Sonderhausen, in Thuringia; in the Darney Forest in the Vosges; and in the village of Buchs, in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. The last is the oldest recorded site of the purple beech, three trees there being mentioned in a work dated 1680. They were the survivors of a group originally of five, which, according to legend, had sprung up on the spot where five brothers had killed each other. Most of the trees in cultivation are considered to have sprung from the Hanleiter tree.

The date of introduction of the purple beech to Britain is uncertain. It appears to have been in cultivation here around 1760, and certainly by 1777, when Loddiges listed it in their catalogue. Whether the beech described by Weston as F. s. var. atropunicea in 1770 was really the purple beech, as Rehder assumed, is by no means certain. Possibly it was, but the fact remains that Weston called his var. atropunicea the ‘American purple-leaved beech’, and Humphrey Marshall, an American nurseryman and collector who was certainly acquainted with Weston’s book, actually adopted the name F. sylvatica var. atropunicea for the American beech (Arbustum Americanum (1780), p. 46).

The only old purple beech of which the planting date is known grows at the Knap Hill nurseries, Surrey. It measures 65 × 1414 ft (1961) and was planted in 1826. Trees with girths in excess of this are: Linton Park, Kent, 90 × 1912 ft (1965); Cobham Hall, Kent, 85 × 1814 ft (1965); Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, 72 × 16 ft (1965); Corsham Court, Wilts, 92 × 1712 ft (1965); Wilton House, Wilts, 95 × 1634 ft (1961); The Lodge, Wateringbury, Kent, 75 × 2014 ft (1962).

The purple beech comes partially true from seed but the majority of the seedlings are either the ordinary green type or but faintly coloured. The name F. sylvatica cuprea or copper beech is used for trees with leaves paler than in the true purple beech. Various clones of the purple beech have received names. ‘Swat Magret’, raised in Germany by Timms and Co., has very dark purple leaves, which are said to retain their colouring until late in the summer. ‘Brocklesby’ has leaves rather larger than normal, deep purple. It may have originated at Brocklesby Park, Lines, where there are many fine purple beeches, but curiously enough no reference to it in British literature can be found; the example at Kew, too crowded in to show its characters well, came from Späth’s nursery, Berlin. The well-known ‘Riversii’ was raised and distributed originally by Messrs Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, who listed it in their trade catalogues in the 1870s as a very fine form of purple beech. They themselves did not give it a distinguishing name, but it became known as F. sylvatica purpurea Riversii in the trade.

cv. ‘Purpurea Tricolor’. – Leaves purplish, narrower than normal, edged and striped with rose and pinkish white. This is very pretty when the leaves are young. The tree at Kew, seen from a distance, has the aspect of a small-leaved and slender copper beech. This variety is said to have come to notice almost simultaneously in France and Holland, and to have been first propagated in quantity by Transon’s nursery, Orleans, who first exhibited it in 1885 (Rev. Hort. Belg., Vol. 12, p. 145; Rev. Hort. (1885), p. 311). A similar or perhaps identical beech was exhibited by Messrs Cripps in 1888 as F. s. roseomarginata and was awarded a First Class Certificate.

cv. ‘Purpurea Pendula’. – The tree commonly grown under this name in Britain (and also seen in continental collections) is slow-growing and makes a small, mushroom-shaped bush; leaves rich purple. It is possible that the correct name for this variant should be ‘Purpurea Pendula Nana’.

f. quercifolia Schneid. See f. laciniata.

f. quercoides (Pers.) Domin F. s. var. quercoides Pers. – Bark oak-like. The tree on which Persoon based the name grew at Göttingen in Germany and was thought there to be a hybrid between the oak and the beech (Trans. Linn.Soc. Lond., Vol. 5 (1800), p. 233). This variant occurs occasionally in the wild.

cv. ‘Remillyensis’. – An umbrella-shaped tree, with tortuous branches. It was first distributed by Simon-Louis Frères and presumably came from the Remilly stand mentioned under f. tortuosa. The specimen at Kew came from Lee’s nursery in 1873 and measures 36 × 514 ft (1967). It is grafted at 4 ft.

cv. ‘Rohanii’. – Leaves brownish purple, cut about as deeply as in the original laciniata (q.v.), but with the serrations more irregular and themselves often edged with shallow, roundish teeth. This beech was raised on the estate of Prince Camille de Rohan at Sychrov, in what is now Czechoslovakia, from seeds sown in 1888. The parents are believed to be two trees still growing in the collection – one the purple beech ‘Brocklesby’, the other a cut-leaved beech called F. s. quercifolia, which appears to be similar to the trees grown under that name at Kew (see under f. laciniata). After the death of the Prince the garden superintendent V. Mašek set up his own nursery at Turnov nearby, and his son K. Mašek put ‘Rohanii’ into commerce in 1908, though it seems at the time to have attracted little attention and only recently has become widely known and planted. There is a good specimen in the Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey.

cv. ‘Roseomarginata’. See under ‘Purpurea Tricolor’.

cv. ‘Rotundifolia’. – Perhaps the daintiest of beech varieties; leaves round, 12 to 114 in. in diameter, very closely set on the branches. It originated near St Johns, Woking, and was known by 1872, in which year Major McNair of Brookwood sent a specimen to Kew. It was propagated by Messrs Jackman of Woking and received a First Class Certificate when shown by them in 1894. It was figured in the same year in Gardener’s Magazine, p. 339. The tree at Kew, which came from Späth’s nursery in 1900, has larger leaves (112 in. wide), than in the dried specimen from McNair, but this is probably of no significance. The number of pairs of veins is the same in both – usually four. The Kew tree is of slender, erect habit; there is also a large specimen at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, with a more spreading crown.

f. tortuosa (Pepin) Hegi F. s. var. tortuosa Pepin – A rather heterogeneous group of abnormally branched beeches which often occur in colonies and have been reported from France, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. The branches are tortuous or zigzagged, sometimes forming ‘horse-collars’ by the self-grafting of branchlets onto the parent stem. These beeches may form trees of a fair size or large, spreading shrubs; often the branchlets of the tree-like plants are pendulous. The typical trees are known as ‘Les Faux de St Basles’ and grow in the Forest of Verzy near Nancy (fau, fou, are dialect names for beech). They were described by Pépin in Rev. Hort. (1861), p. 84, and are now under state protection. Another French stand, described by Carrière in Rev. Hort. (1877), p. 374, was situated near Remilly, S.E. of Metz. See further under ‘Remillyensis’.

In Germany a famous colony of the spreading sub-form grows in the Süntel Highlands between Cologne and Hanover. One of these was removed to the Berggarten at Hanover, where it still grows. Tortuous beeches in S. Sweden, of which there are many, are described by John Kraft in Lustgarden (1966-7), pp. 25-59 (with 40 photographs by Tor Lundgren).

cv. ‘Tricolor’. – This variety was cultivated by Simon-Louis Frères of Metz. According to Jouin, the manager of their tree and shrub nursery, it was not vigorous and had small leaves that burnt in the sun and were rose-edged when young, the margin later becoming white. He seems to have had no high opinion of it and cautioned that it should not be confused with F. s. purpurea tricolor (as in fact it has been). His description will be found in his notes on the variants of the beech sold by his firm, published in Le Jardin, Vol. 13.

cv. ‘Zlatia’. – Leaves yellow when young but not of a shade deep enough to be called golden; when mature they scarcely differ from those of the ordinary beech. It was discovered near Vranje in Serbia and put into commerce by Späth, who received scions from Prof. Dragašević in 1890. The name derives from the Serbian word for gold (zlato).

In the Balkans and eastern Central Europe beeches occur which are inter­mediate in foliage between the oriental and the common, but lack the leafy processes seen on the cupules of the former. These have been named F. moesiaca (Maly) Czeczot. According to P. Fukarek (Int. Dendr. Soc. Ybk. (1968), p. 37) the leaves of intermediates found in Jugoslavia are narrower than in the common beech, with a cuneate base and more numerous lateral nerves, and the cupules bear longer and softer processes.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

At the beginning of the list of specimens on page 178, mention was made of Pontey’s beech at Woburn. This is dead and was removed around 1970. The following specimens have been recorded recently: Kew, near Japanese Gateway, 85 × 14 ft with a clear bole of 15 ft (1980); Kenwood House, Highgate, London, 98 × 1412 ft, with a clear bole of 33 ft, and another 85 × 1634 ft (1981); Golders Hill Park, London, 105 × 1714 ft (1982); Welford Park, Berks., 111 × 1712 ft (1979); Bagshot Park, Surrey/Berks., 85 × 1614 ft with a clear bole of 30 ft (1982); Lullingstone Park, Kent, 60 × 23 ft (1982); Knole Park, Kent, 111 × 1912 ft (1984); Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, 118 × 21 ft and, by the House, 102 × 1912 ft, a superb tree (1984); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 98 × 1714 ft (1979); Handcross Park, Sussex, 70 × 17 ft (1982); Peasmarsh, Sussex, 132 × 16 ft (1982); Slindon Wood, Sussex, 135 × 1134 ft and 135 × 1314 ft (1983); Leonardslee, Sussex, in Wallaby Park, 115 × 20 ft (1984); Beauport, Sussex, the tree measured in 1965 no longer exists but another is 102 × 1612 ft (1980); Tottenham Park, Savernake, Wilts., 121 × 15 ft with a clear bole of 40 ft, and 92 × 1534 ft (1984); Longleat, Wilts., 118 × 2012 ft (1971); Westonbirt House, Glos., 88 × 17 ft (1982); Colesbourne, Glos., 127 × 1534 ft (1984); Stanway Park, Glos., 111 × 1612 ft and 98 × 1512 ft (1982); Cirencester Abbey, Glos., 105 × 17 ft with a clear bole of 16 ft (1984); Milton Abbey, Dorset, 118 × 2412 ft at 3 ft (1982); Kingston Lacey, Dorset, 108 × 1834 ft (1983); Sherborne Castle, Dorset, 111 × 1812 ft (1978); Nettlecombe, Som., 111 × 1814 ft, forking (1984); Sydney Park, Bath, 92 × 1514 ft, with a clear bole of 30 ft (1981); Powys, Sidmouth, Devon, 80 × 21 ft (1979); Lilford Park, Northants, 92 × 1712 ft (1984); Althorp, Northants, 110 × 19 ft (1983); Howick, Northumb., 111 × 1712 ft (1978); Beaufront Castle, Northumb., 144 × 1734 ft (1982); The Gliffaes Hotel, Crickhowell, Powys, 118 × 19 ft (1984); Elioch, Dumfr., 72 × 2114 ft 4 ft (1984); Jardine Hall, Dumfr., 80 × 2012 ft (1984); Tyninghame, E. Lothian, 115 × 1812 ft (1984); Blairquhan, Ayrs., 115 × 1814 ft (1984); Strone House, Argyll, 118 × 1714 ft (1985); Keir House, Perths., 108 × 18 ft (1985); Haddo House, Aberd., 75 × 18 ft with a fine bole (1980); Earl’s Mill, Darnaway, Moray, 65 × 1914 ft, a fine though battered specimen (1983); Beaufort Castle, Inv., 85 × 2334 ft, pollard (1985); Canon House, Dingwall, Ross, outside Wall Garden, 130 × 14 ft, with a fine bole (1982); Headfort, Co. Meath, Eire, 115 × 1512 ft and 108 × 1812 ft (1980); Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Eire, 115 × 1512 ft (1980).

cv. ‘Albomarginata’. - specimens: Battersea Park, London, 70 × 612 ft (1983); Bradstone Brock, Surrey, 77 × 934 ft (1982); Buxted Park, Sussex, 70 × 10 ft, showing some reversion (1978); Melbury, Dorset, in Valley (1980).

cv. ‘Asplenifolia’. - specimens: Knap Hill Nursery, Surrey, pl. 1826, 70 × 1314 ft (1983); Nonsuch Park, Epsom, Surrey, 62 × 1014 ft (1983); Stratfield Saye, Hants, 62 × 1112 ft (1983); Leigh Park, Havant, Hants, 80 × 1214 ft (1983); Kingston Bagpuize, Oxon., 70 × 1312 ft (1978); Melbury, Dorset, in Valley, 88 × 1012 ft (1980); Dodington Park, Glos., 65 × 11 ft (1980); Holbourne Museum, Bath, 88 × 1234 ft (1981); Nettlecombe, Som., 92 × 1012 ft (1984); Holker, Cumb., 80 × 12 ft (1983); Margam Park, Mid-Glam., 52 × 1134 ft (1979); Singleton Abbey, Swansea, 77 × 1012 ft (1982); Clythra, Dyfed, 80 × 1212 ft (1979); Moncrieffe House, Perths., 85 × 1214 ft (1982); Gargunnock, Stirlings., 62 × 1214 ft (1983); Cool House, E. Ross, 80 × 1314 ft, a magnificent tree (1982).

cv. ‘Aurea pendula’. – It is uncertain whether this is still in cultivation.

cv. ‘Aurea variegata’. - specimens: Westonbirt, Glos., Willesley Drive, 82 × 8 ft (1978); Powis Castle, Powys, 68 × 812 ft (1981) and another 60 × 8 ft (1984).

cv. ‘Cristata’. - specimens: Wakehurst Place, on Lawn, 72 × 334 ft (1983); West Park, Rockbourne, Hants, 66 × 8 ft (1979); Bath Botanic Garden, 77 × 314 ft (1982); Capenoch, Dumfries, 70 × 7 ft (1979).

cv. ‘Dawyck’. - specimens: Kew, nr Palace, 72 × 614 ft and, nr Castanea Collection, 77 × 5 ft (1981); Frogmore, Berks., 75 × 412 ft (1982); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, in Valley, 92 × 7 ft (1980); St John’s College, Cambridge, 72 × 512 ft (1983), and another 68 × 6 ft (1980); Merton College, Oxford, 66 × 514 ft (1981); Westonbirt, Glos., Willesley Drive, 92 × 7 ft (1980); Tortworth Court, Glos., 93 × 714 ft (1980); Dawyck, Peebl., original tree, 87 × 8 ft at 3 ft (1982).

In the original printing of this edition it was stated that Herr Hesse was the first to describe the Dawyck beech. He was indeed the first to name it and put it into commerce, but a description by W. J. Bean had appeared earlier (Gard. Chron., 1907 i, p. 149). Incidentally, Hesse named it ‘Dawyckii’, but this is unacceptable and the cultivar name ‘Dawyck’ is universally used.

† cv. ‘Dawyck Gold’. – With the habit of ‘Dawyck’, but with the leaves golden when young and again in autumn. A seedling of ‘Dawyck’ with ‘Zlatia’ as the probable pollen-parent. See further below under ‘Dawyck Purple’.

† cv. ‘Dawyck Purple’. – Like the above, this has the habit of ‘Dawyck’, but the leaves are a good deep purple.

In 1969 about 100 viable nuts were collected from a tree of ‘Dawyck’ growing in the Trompenburg Arboretum, Rotterdam. Of the seedlings sixty-three were common beech; the others were of the ‘Dawyck’ habit, twenty-five of them green-leaved, four purple-leaved and eight golden-leaved. From these were selected ‘Dawyck Purple’ and ‘Dawyck Gold’ (J. R. P. van Hoey-Smith, Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 98, pp. 206-7 (1973)). Both these clones were put into commerce in Britain by Messrs Hillier. Planted around 1975 in the Hillier Arboretum, both are about 25 ft high (1986). ‘Dawyck Purple’ is of narrower, more open habit than ‘Dawyck Gold’.

cv. ‘Grandidentata’. – The example at Kew, pl. 1872, measures 69 × 714 ft (1984).

f. laciniata - specimens: Kew, pl. 1890, 52 × 534 ft (1978); Ascott, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks., pl. 1897, 60 × 734 ft (1978); Beauport, near Battle, Sussex, 80 × 11 ft (1981); Capenoch, Dumfr., 82 × 1014 ft (1979); Cairnsmore, Kirkcud., 64 × 934 ft (1981); Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Eire, 62 × 514 ft (1985).

The Kew tree, and probably some of the others mentioned, belongs to the clone ‘Quercifolia’, distributed by James Booth of Hamburg.

f. latifolia – The authentic examples of ‘Prince George of Crete’ at Kew, pl. 1904, measure 52 × 6 ft and 58 × 514 ft (1984). Belonging to F. latifolia, but of a different clone (or a chance seedling of the common beech) is a tree at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, measuring 108 × 1312 ft at 4 ft (1984).

f. pendula - specimens: Knap Hill Nursery, Surrey, 50 × 1012 ft (1982) and 65 × 1214 ft at 1 ft (1974); Sandling Park, Kent, pl. 1900, 50 × 13 ft at 3 ft (1980); Blackmoor, Hants, 98 × 834 ft (1983); Mill Court, Hants, 88 × 1112 ft (1984); Green Park, Bucks., 95 × 11 ft (1978); Ascott, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks., 72 × 11 ft (1978); Castle Ashby, Northants, 40 × 13 ft at 3 ft (1983); Belton, Lincs., 95 × 914 ft (1978); Orchardleigh, Som., 85 × 712 ft (1977); Tregrehan, Cornwall, 80 × 814 ft (1979); Penjerrick, Cornwall, 90 × 1434 ft (1979); National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Eire, 46 × 1134 ft (1980); Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Eire, 95 × 9 ft (1980).

f. purpurea - specimens: Knap Hill Nursery, pl. 1826, now suffering from fungus attack, 65 × 1514 ft (1974); Chart Park Golf Course, Dorking, 124 × 1714 ft (1984); Cobham Hall, Kent, 88 × 1834 ft (1976) and another 107 × 1334 ft (1982); The Lodge, Wateringbury, Kent, the tree measured in 1962 has been felled; Hylands Park, Essex, 62 × 1734 ft (1977); Capel Manor, Enfield, Middx., 111 × 16 ft (1976); Beauport, near Battle, Sussex, 115 × 1414 ft (1980); Blenheim Palace, Oxon., by the Cascade, 95 × 1512 ft (1978); Brockhall, Northants, 100 × 1312 ft with a clear bole of 35 ft (1979); Syston Park, Lincs., 62 × 2114 ft at 3 ft (1983); Crichel, near Wimborne, Dorset, 75 × 22 ft (1971); Milton Abbey, Dorset, 95 × 1612 ft and 105 × 14 ft (1982); Wilton House, Wilts., 105 × 1734 ft (1971); Dyrham Park, Glos., 82 × 1634 ft (1976); Curragh Chase, Co. Limerick, Eire, 107 × 1312 ft (1975).

Under f. purpurea, mention was made of ‘Riversii’. In the Sawbridgeworth nursery of Messrs Rivers there is what may be the authentic clone, though perhaps not the original, as it is grafted. It measures 66 × 13 ft at 3 ft, dividing into three boles at 5 ft (1984).

What is probably the original tree of ‘Brocklesby’, mentioned at the top of page 183, still grows at Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, and measures 82 × 1514 ft (1977). The example at Kew mentioned, pl. 1900, measures 62 × 6 ft (1984).

cv. ‘Purpurea Tricolor’. - specimens: Kew, 62 × 5 ft (1984); Leonardslee, Sussex, 72 × 6 ft (1985); Thorp Perrow, Bedale, Yorks., 60 × 334 ft (1981); Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Eire, 52 × 412 ft (1985).

This cultivar appears to have been usually offered in the trade as F. s. tricolor, but the clonal name ‘Tricolor’ belongs to a variegated green-leaved beech.

cv. ‘Remillyensis’. – The example at Kew measures 30 × 414 ft at 3 ft (1978).

cv. ‘Rohanii’. – The Winkworth plant measures 40 × 4 ft (1978). A seedling of ‘Rohanii’ with golden leaves has been named ‘Rohan Gold’ and was raised by Mr van Hoey-Smith at the Trompenburg Arboretum, Rotterdam (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 96, p. 208 (1973)).

cv. ‘Rotundifolia’. - specimens: Kew, 66 × 434 ft (1978); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 62 × 9 ft at 3 ft (1981); Alexandra Park, Hastings, Sussex, 66 × 512 ft (1983); Highdown, near Worthing, Sussex, 48 × 614 ft (1983); Rivers’ Nursery, Sawbridgeworth, Herts., 48 × 812 ft (1978); Thorp Perrow, Bedale, Yorks., 55 × 434 ft (1981); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 50 × 414 ft (1981).

cv. ‘Zlatia’. - specimens: Kew, pl. 1903, 72 × 714 ft and 66 × 6 ft (1984); Nymans, Sussex, pl. 1912, 82 × 514 ft (1985); Hollycombe, Liphook, Hants, 82 × 1112 ft at 4 ft (1984); Westonbirt, Glos., pl. 1934, 70 × 712 ft and 56 × 6 ft (1984); Thorp Perrow, Bedale, Yorks., 60 × 514 ft (1981); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 75 × 8 ft (1981).

Beech Bark Disease. – This condition is not a simple disease but a complex disorder involving three factors, usually in combination: the sap-sucking beech scale or felted beech coccus (Cryptococcus fagisuga); a fungus, commonly Nectria coccinea; and stress due to drought or other environmental factors. It is impossible to summarise shortly the results of recent research, but it should be emphasised that beech bark disease is not an epidemic in any way comparable to Dutch elm disease, as alarmist reports would have us believe.

For information see: Phillips and Burdekin, Diseases of Forest and Ornamental Trees, pp. 225-30 (1982); David Lonsdale, ‘Unjustly Feared?’, Gardeners Chronicle and Horticultural Trades Journal, November 2, 1979, pp. 13-15 and, by the same author, ‘Some Aspects of the Pathology of Environmentally Stressed Trees’ in Year Book 1982 of the International Dendrology Society; P. G. Collis, ‘Treatment for Beech Bark Disease’, Quarterly Journal of Forestry, Vol. LXXIII, pp. 40-7 (1979); and E. J. Parker, Beech Bark Disease, Forestry Commission Forest Record No. 96 (1974).



Other species in the genus