These two magnificent European Weeping Beeches may seem identical at first. Notice, however, how the crown of one of them is wider than the other. That is because Weeping Beeches become wider as they grow, proving these two specimens were planted years apart.
Many of the mature trees you are enjoying in this tour were planted during Julian deCordova’s time. Rumor has it that Mr. deCordova had a friend at the Arnold Arboretum who often gave him plants that the arboretum didn’t want to keep. That may be how he acquired most of the exotic adult specimens present at the park today.
The fruit of the Beech Tree is a one-inch-wide prickly burr that splits into four at maturity, releasing two shiny triangular nuts. The burr is a receptacle similar to the one in Oak acorns, which also belong to the Fagaceae family. These fruits are called beechnuts and are edible, with a slight taste of vanilla. In fact, the genus name Fagus comes from the Greek for “eat,” presumably after the tastiness of the nuts, which are dispersed by birds, rodents and sometimes humans. Did you know the young leaves of Beech Trees can be eaten raw in salads?