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Fairytale in the forest: Beech comes into leaf

May 6, 2010

Most Danes has a special relation to the beech.

Not least around May 1., the time for the beech to come into leaf. On a sunny day in the spring we take great pleasure in a walk around – and sit down – looking at these light green colours all around us.

So I felt really good when I went to one of the many beech-forests around here yesterday afternoon:

In fact, our National Hymn starts like this:

“There is a lovely country, it stands with broad beeches…..”

– and the beech is the most common hardwood tree in our country. (Our most common trees are connifers, they cover 53 % of our forests, but they have only been here for around 200 years…)

The beech has been here for more than 3500 years, and is a native tree here. And we have some beeches that are more than 300 years old….

In fact – I may have met one of those guys yesterday, he looked like this in the top:

… not bad for a fellow of that age… – surrounded by young, green friends 😉

Friends????

NO! – Surrounded by –HIMSELF!

??????????????????

When I took a closer look at him, the green shoots were branches coming from the very bottom of the big old fellow! Look here:

Now I just waited for Hans Christian Andersen to come walking – and sit down to tell the rest of the story……

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2010 7:44 pm

    Didn’t know the history of beeches in Denmark. Fascinating. Did Hans every show up? 😉 The trees all popped out there leafs last weekend in upstate NY. Everything is green again.

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    • May 8, 2010 6:17 pm

      The leaves of many trees are green here too, but not all – for example the oak. No, Hans did not come that day. But he did ealier! – so you get another little story: About 1 km from my house – in our local forest – there is an old little road passing through, it crosses our local stream on an old bridge on its way to the manor house, Vilhelmsborg from 1486 (http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhelmsborg) – now the national horse-sport-center (http://www.vilhelmsborg.dk/Galleri.php). HCA was a friend of the lord of the manor, and passed this bridge an evening – when the weel fell off the his horse-drawn carriage – – and poor HCA drove into the stream!

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      • May 18, 2010 9:09 pm

        I get the feeling that Danes take great pride in the fact that Mr. Andersen was Danish! 🙂
        I’m sure he could have told a lovely story about your tree, and perhaps the wood nymphs that may reside here! 😉

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  2. May 8, 2010 2:48 pm

    Fabulous trees and pictures ! I’m very impressed by their size and age. Did you write your own fairy tale after visiting this enchanting forest 😉 ?

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    • May 8, 2010 6:31 pm

      Yes – I often do that!
      Scott got a little story, so you get one too (not a fairy tale – sorry!): I read in my newspaper today a little story about the beech:
      There was a story about the many plants here in Denmark which come into leaves and flower much later this year – because of the long and cold winter. But this year – like every year – the beech came into leaf around May 1. Why???
      The answer was simple – but interesting (I think!).
      It is because the beech is controlled by THE LIGHT – and NOT the temperature!

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