Beech Nuts

Mar 1, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Beech trees, Fagus grandifolia, with their smooth beautiful trunks and handsome leaves, also produce nuts – usually there are two highly nutritious and tasty nuts which develop in very spiny burrs, protective structures that open with frost, allowing the nuts to fall to the ground.  Unlike our delicious pecans, beechnuts unhealthy contain compounds unhealthy for humans that are destroyed by roasting. In the days when people looked to nature for much of their food, these nuts were collected and roasted before being ground and used as a coffee substitute or added to flour for breadmaking. Animals, however, are the major consumers as the list of species that feed on them is extensive. Rodents, beers, squirrels, and many birds rely on beech mast as a staple food in winter. The wood isn’t particularly good for furniture making, but due its density makes great firewood.