Beech Trees

unfolding beech

There are several stands of beech trees at Ivy Creek.  If you walk along the orange trail or white trails and notice the openness of the forest around you, it is likely that you are walking through a beech forest.  Beech forests are a "climax" forest (the stable phase of a forest's development when species are not routinely replaced by new species) here in the Piedmont, slowly replacing oak/hickory forests in this role in some places.  Beech trees are easy to recognize.  They, like oaks, hold their dead leaves through the winter and into spring.  Their smooth, gray bark is irresisitable to some humans. If you find initials or an expression of love carved into the trunk of a tree, it is most likely a beech tree.  Their cigar shaped leaf buds are just now opening and it is beautiful to watch.  They unfold with the grace of a dancer.   

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