Symbiosis – Animals – Plants

 Many animals find their home

On these beech leaves, galls of the beech gall midge are seen next to beechnuts.

On these beech leaves, galls of the beech gall midge are seen next to beechnuts.

Hornets and wasps like to live in woodpeckers' holes.

Hornets and wasps like to live in woodpeckers‘ holes.

The hawk is near the top of the food chain. A large part of its diet consists of birds.

The hawk is near the top of the food chain. A large part of its diet consists of birds.

Black woodpeckers often inhabit beech woods. They make their nest-holes 6 - 20 m above the ground.

Black woodpeckers often inhabit beech woods. They make their nest-holes 6 – 20 m above the ground.

Left: the galls of the beech gall midge, right: a full grown gall midge.

Left: the galls of the beech gall midge, right: a full grown gall midge.

Beech leaf miners only feed on beech leaves and are just 2 -2.8 mm long.

Beech leaf miners only feed on beech leaves and are just 2 -2.8 mm long.

The owl often makes its home in beech woodland. It too is far up in the food chain.

The owl often makes its home in beech woodland. It too is far up in the food chain.

Jackdaws (left) and starlings (right) often use deserted woodpeckers' holes as a hideout.

Jackdaws (left) and starlings (right) often use deserted woodpeckers‘ holes as a hideout.

The rare hermit beetle. Its larva feeds on the hyphae of fungus.

The rare hermit beetle. Its larva feeds on the hyphae of fungus.

The woolly beech aphid is one of the few insects that live and feed only on beech trees.

The woolly beech aphid is one of the few insects that live and feed only on beech trees.

Stock doves (left) and Tengmalm's owl (right) also make their homes in beech woods.

Stock doves (left) and Tengmalm’s owl (right) also make their homes in beech woods.

The chaffinch is called "beech finch" in German. But it also lives in other environments, such as gardens.

The chaffinch is called „beech finch“ in German. But it also lives in other environments, such as gardens.

The Beech: Neighbouring plants

The tinder fungus is characteristic for the fungal infestation of a dying tree. It used to be indispensible for lighting fires.

The tinder fungus is characteristic for the fungal infestation of a dying tree. It used to be indispensible for lighting fires.

 

Orchids in beech woods

Orchids are frequently found on both sunny south-facing and shady north-facing hillsides of beech woodlands. Under the great canopy of the beech, very little light reaches the forest floor. Therefore most of the orchids prefer brighter spots, where pines grow among beeches or in glades and on waysides.

lady's slipper orchid

lady’s slipper orchid

red helleborine

red helleborine

liverwort

liverwort

corydalis

corydalis

woodruff

woodruff

Fungus plays an important role in the decomposition of deadwood.

It takes many years for deadwood to be decomposed by organisms, especially fungus and numerous insects. The decomposition of wood is a slow process. How long it takes depends upon the type of wood and the microclimate (temperature and humidity). However, decades or even centuries pass before the whole tree trunk has turned to earth.

Original photos of the Bavaria Beech

common porecrust

common porecrust

reddish coalberry

reddish coalberry

Fichtenporling

Fichtenporling

red band fungus

red band fungus

The beech: Interesting facts

 

Letters of the alphabet

In medieval times, signs with special meanings were cut into beech staffs. These were often blessings or curses. The German word for letter – literally „beech staff“- is derived from this tradition.

 

 

Books

The German word for book (Buch) is closely related to the word for beech (Buche). As late as the 18th century, book covers were usually made of beech wood and bound with richly decorated leather.

 

 

 

Names of towns

In a phase of forest-clearing in the Central Middle Ages, settlements were built on high ground. If these were situated on former wide stretches of beech woodland, they were named accordingly. In order to distinguish them from one another they were given prefixes or suffixes such as „Aschbuch“ (Ash-Beech), „Arnbuch“ (Arn-Beech), „Kirchbuch“ (Church-Beech) or simply named „Buch“ (Beech).

 

Beech leaves

In winter, when the domestic animals stayed in the sheds, straw was usually used as bedding. If this was scarce, one made do with large quantities of abundantly available beech leaves.

 

Glass manufacture

Charcoal and potash have always been essential to make glass. It was easy to produce both of these in areas with extensive beech woodlands. This played a large role in the choice of location for the glass factory in Grosdorf. The same can be said of the factory in Zandt.

 

Food from the beech

Beechnuts contain a lot of vegetable oil. They can be ground in a mill to extract this rich substance.

 

The beech as a shelter

A flock of sheep in the shade of the Bavaria Beech

The story of the Bavaria Beech could have begun as follows: on a cow pasture, on a spot with a flat, barely visible, rocky knoll, several beechnuts, probably hidden by a nutcracker, sprouted. The shoots were continually eaten by the cows until the pasture was laid fallow. The small shoots then grew steadily and turned into a „beech bush“ from which some shoots grew higher and higher and turned into a single trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

A flock of sheep in the shade of the Bavaria Beech