Tuesday 30 October 2012

All autumn in one tree - the Beech


The maple-dominated woods of New England are glorious in the Fall; but just one single Beech tree contains the essence of autumn.

The colour of the Beech leaf in spring is pale, translucent green, with additional depths of pinkish brown in the Copper Beech.

The trunk of a large tree is smooth, grayish, with strong and graceful curves.

In autumn the leaf turns gradually from green through bright yellow, through orange to dark red - sometimes uniformly, sometimes in patches.

A single tree contains all of these colours and those in-between at the same time; and each tree is different - not just subtly but very obviously; and each tree varies day-by-day in its unique progression towards dark red or orange brown; and each branch or frond goes at a different rate.

Against a blue sky, or looking through the leaves towards the sun, the beauty of an autumn Beech is completely over-the-top; it is simply ridiculous that such wonders are so densely scattered that I may see two dozen utterly different perfections on my route to work.


[Note: I accidentally posted this here when it was intended for my Miscellany blog. However, the relevance to Tolkien, although unintended, is obvious.]


Matthew said...


Bruce Charlton said...

@M - Lovely picture - but the trunk with small branches coming off it does not look right for a beech...? Maybe a variety with which I am unfamiliar.

Matthew C. said...

It's an American beech, they get pretty enormous here in North Carolina (up to 30+ meters tall). Along with the sweetgum trees, they astound with the number of different colors revealed in the autumn.