Beech family (Fagaceae)
Tree originating in N America, there reaching 40 m in height, here just 25 (29) m. Breast-height diameter may exceed 160 cm. Bark grey and smooth, but with shallow fissuring further down. Leaves long and variable with 7-11 sharply-pointed and toothed lobes. Red-gold in autumn. Nuts (acorns) up to 2.5 cm long, on short stalks, squat and with flat base, set in a shallow cup. They mature in 2nd year. Flowers in May, after leaves develop.
Brought to Europe in 1691, in Poland since 1806. Introduced into pine stands in more nutrient-poor habitats, and in parks. Faster growth than native oaks, and also resistant to frost and air pollution. Also invasive, with slow-decaying leaves that impoverish the forest floor.
Descriptions devised by the team at the Independent Department of Forest Botany, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, i.e. L. Witkowska-Żuk, K. Marciszewska, W. Ciurzycki, A. Obidziński and P. Zaniewski.