Fagus sylvatica at Bute Park

Fagus sylvatica 0

Fagus sylvatica
early January 2016

Fagus sylvatica 1

Fagus sylvatica
early May 2016

Grid reference ST 17734 76758
Common name Common beech
Origin Europe
Deciduous Yes
Tag 2056
Height 34M January 2016
Girth 433cm January 2016
Girth 458cm March 2023
Reference 390

This beech is on the east edge of Old Man's Wood west, just north of Blackfriars. The tag number on the rectangular black plastic plate was difficult to read.

The approximate age of this tree is calculated by estimating its lifetime growing conditions and measuring its girth.[1]

The age calculation has been made on the basis that this ground is a "good" site for Beech trees. The ground is a past river flood plain with some river stones and silt and the tree receives plenty of light. The ground is relatively uncompacted.

Doing the calculation on the basis of this being a good site, the tree is estimated to be approximately 171 years old in 2016, and therefore started growing around 1845.
If the site were considered only average, which is thought to be unlikely, the age would be approximately 248 years old in 2016, and therefore the tree started growing around 1768.

(Plans and historical records indicate that as late as 1824 Old Man's Wood did not exist. It was shown as a scrub area on an 1851 Ordnance Survey plan.[2])

Fagus sylvatica bark

Fagus sylvatica bark
January 2016

Fagus sylvatica leaf

Fagus sylvatica leaves
early August 2016

Fagus sylvatica fruit

Fagus sylvatica fruit
early August 2016

General tree description

Fagus sylvatica, the Common or European beech, is a large tree, up to 40 metres tall, with smooth, silver-grey bark. Typically it has a long straight trunk supporting a huge dome and dense foliage. The leaves are up to 10cm long, oval or obovate, with a wavy margin and small irregular teeth. They emerge fresh green, becoming darker and shiny above, pale and shiny underneath, and in autumn turning a golden copper colour. Yellow-green flowers come with the leaves in early May. The male flowers are catkins, while the female flowers come in pairs of short spikes enclosed in a cup. They produce the beechnuts, small triangular nuts in spiky husks.

Sources of Information

  1. Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain
  2. Bute Park Restoration and Development Plan March 2005, page 84