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Home > Magazine > Nature > I Love a Beech Tree in Winter

I Love a Beech Tree in Winter
November 24, 2008

...Because its copper leaves stay on.

I like how it stays yellow so late in autumn...it's one of the last bright trees. Then it turns copper against the white winter snow and deep blue skies. And of course you gotta love the hardness and toughness of the slow-growing beech.

But why do its leaves stay on?

Because it's marcescent!

That's right. Marcescent trees keep their leaves on throughout most of winter. A few oaks are in this category as well. Quercus, baby! (Latin for a kind of oak.) But, whups, that's not WHY they stay on, that's just what kind of deciduous tree keeps its leaves. Beats me why they do it.

Anyway, marcescent is your rockin' botany word for the day!

Reader Comments - Add Your Own Comment
devils son in law - , posted on Dec 07, 2008
I've always loved the Beech's too. Not many here in our area but they're easy to spot and since we don't have many they are nice to look at, the smooth grey bark, brown leaves hanging on all winter,,,,,,