Symbiosis – Animals – Plants
Many animals find their home
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Beechnuts contain a lot of vegetable oil. They can be ground in a mill to extract this rich substance.
The beech as a shelter
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