European beech (Fagus sylvatica), belonging to the Beech family (Fagaceae), is considered as one of the most significant trees in European forests. It is widespread from Spain up to Eastern Europe and the southern coast of Norway.
It is a medium-sized tree that grows up to a height of 40 meters. Its crown is dense and widely distributed, while the bark is gray and smooth.
Beech is a valuable economic tree. It is used to make furniture, floorboards, parquet, and many other products. Its wood is hard, heavy, and strong, but at the same time, it has a very nice and fine texture.
In addition to its economic importance, European beech also performs considerable ecological functions. Its crown provides food and shelter for various animals, including birds, insects and small mammals.
In the past, beech leaves were used to make medicinal teas and infusions to treat various illnesses, such as cough and digestive issues.
Young beech leaves are suitable for direct consumption – they contain many vitamins and trace elements.
Beech masts previously served as an important diet supplement for poor people. The nuts were collected and dried, eaten raw, or ground and added to the flour. People were even pressing them and using their oil instead of butter or for oil lamps.