Beech trees are large (9 to 24 meters), symmetrical forest
trees that have smooth, light-gray bark and dark green foliage.
The character of its bark, plus its clusters of prickly seed
pods, clearly distinguish the beech tree in the field.
Habitat and Distribution
This tree is found in the Temperate Zone. It grows wild in
the eastern United States, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It
is found in moist areas, mainly in the forests. This tree is
common throughout southeastern Europe and across temperate Asia.
Beech relatives are also found in Chile, New Guinea, and New
The mature beech nuts readily fall out of the husk like seed
pods. You can eat these dark brown triangular nuts by breaking
the thin shell with your fingernail and removing the white, sweet
kernel inside. Beech nuts are one of the most delicious of all
wild nuts. They are a most useful survival food because of the
kernels high oil content.
You can also use the beech nuts as a coffee substitute. Roast
them so that the kernel becomes golden brown and quite hard.
Then pulverize the kernel and, after boiling or steeping in hot
water, you have a passable coffee substitute.
Beech nut are delicious if you can find them. In my experience,
the nuts don't often form inside the shell. Crack the shell open,
and you'll usually find nothing.
The new leaf-buds are reported by some to be edible. I have
eaten them, but more just for something to chew. They are very