What is American beech?
Characteristics of American beech
American beech (Fagus grandifolia), also known as red beech, or white beech, grows in North America: in southeastern Canada, east of the United States and mountainous areas of central Mexico.
In this last location the American beech is sometimes considered as a new species (Fagus mexicana)
The leaves of American beech are very similar to those of European beech.
The American beech is a tree that reaches about 24 meters when it grows in forests along with other specimens, but, when it is cultivated in isolation, it acquires a more open bearing and does not usually exceed 9 meters.
Uses of American beech
Its wood is highly appreciated for its hardness and hit resistance. It is used to make furniture, tool handles, homemade objects, parquet, doors, etc.
The trunks of American beech wood have a reddish-brown interior or heartwood while the sapwood is practically white.
It is a type of heavy and consistent wood, with fine and harmonic grain. Given its hardness, it is worked very badly manually and easily cracks when trying to join with screws, so it is necessary to perform a previous very carefully drilling (* See more information on beech wood)
Unlike European beech, it is little used in gardening because it is slow growing and less resistant to diseases, so in its area of natural growth it has been replaced by the European tree as an ornamental tree.
Food properties of American beech
Can you eat beech nuts from American beech?
It is known that North American native tribes, such as the Iroquois, used American beech seeds extensively in their diet. They ate them freshly picked or kept them to eat in winter. They also ate the young leaves in spring.
When the colonizers arrived, they also ate the fruits of American beech or even roasted and ground them as a coffee substitute.
Attention!! From a food point of view, the seeds of this beech should not be eaten raw in large quantities, because they can cause adverse intestinal reactions.
American beech flower
From these seeds flour can be made for the preparation of breads, cakes, etc. The cooking process eliminates its toxicity. Similarly, the inner part of the crust is edible and, once ground, can be used as a food thickener.
Medicinal properties of American beech
More information on beech