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The classic and trusted book “Fifty Common Trees of Indiana” by T.E. Shaw was published in 1956 as a user-friendly guide to local species.  Nearly 70 years later, the publication has been updated through a joint effort by the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Indiana 4-H, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and reintroduced as “An Introduction to Trees of Indiana.”

The full publication is available for download for $7 in the Purdue Extension Education Store. The field guide helps identify common Indiana woodlot trees.

Each week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species, will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available. American beech leaf line drawing

This week, we introduce the beech, or Fagus grandifolia.

The Beech is easily identified by its smooth gray bark and its simple leaves, which feature straight-line veins from the midrib to the small teeth on the margin. Beeches produce a 3/4-inch long fruit covered in spines, which typically holds two triangular-shaped nuts.

American beech is a shade tolerant species found in the understory often on moist but well-drained soils, that also reaches up into the forest canopy at around 70 to 80 feet tall. Beech is found throughout the Great Lakes region as well as the central and southeastern United States.

Beech is used to make items varying from wooden clothes pins to brush banks, handles and woodenware. Due to its strength and ease of turning, it is also used for chair production. Flooring, railroad ties, pallets and container veneer are other uses for this species.

For full article and photos view Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources: Trees of Indiana: Beech.

Beech woodgrains, Purdue Online Tour of the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest.View the Purdue Online Tour: Hardwoods of the Central Midwest and find out beech species workability, strength, if it can be steam bent, drying details and much more.

Resources:
Beech – Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series
Fifty Trees of the Midwest app, for the iPhone
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
ID That Tree, YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment, YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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