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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beech Nut

I love the stately American Beech,Fagus grandifolia, but all the critters in the forest love it even more. It produces lots of beechnuts, which are often called mast. Many animals depend on food like this in the winter. Here's what the beech nuts look like when they appear on the tree.

beech branch with nuts

The spiky shells split open when they fall to the ground and there is a three-part nut inside. I like the way they taste, but they can be bitter. They are better after the first frost. Supposedly you can grind them into flour or roast them for a coffee substitute, but I've never tried any of that.

Here's the husk, close up.

beech branch with nuts

I'm getting ready to sneak off for a week- I'll tell you more tomorrow.


rainfield61 said...

This must be the favorite of the monkeys in the jungle.

Ratty said...

I've seen these before. I always wondered what they were.

Ann said...

I remember when I was a kid, my dad took me for a walk around his parents farm. They had a beech nut tree. I don't think I've seen one since then though

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

rainfield- haha! no monkeys here, just lots of squirrels and deer

Ratty- beech are a common northern tree

Ann- I bet you have beech... you just don't realize they have the nuts.

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