• The family Fagaceae, or the beech family. • It is characterized by alternate leaves with pinnate venation, flowers in the form of catkins, and fruit in the form of nuts. • The best-known group of this family is the oaks —genus Quercus , whose ...
- Evolution, Phylogeny and Taxonomy
- Economic and Cultural Importance
- Emblematic Fabaceae
- Image Gallery
- External Links
The name 'Fabaceae' comes from the defunct genus Faba, now included in Vicia. The term "faba" comes from Latin, and appears to simply mean "bean". Leguminosae is an older name still considered valid, and refers to the fruit of these plants, which are called legumes.
Fabaceae range in habit from giant trees (like Koompassia excelsa) to small annual herbs, with the majority being herbaceous perennials. Plants have indeterminate inflorescences, which are sometimes reduced to a single flower. The flowers have a short hypanthium and a single carpel with a short gynophore, and after fertilization produce fruits that are legumes.
The order Fabales contains around 7.3% of eudicot species and the greatest part of this diversity is contained in just one of the four families that the order contains: Fabaceae. This clade also includes the families Polygalaceae, Surianaceae and Quillajaceae and its origins date back 94 to 89 million years, although it started its diversification 79 to 74 million years ago. In fact, the Fabaceae have diversified during the early tertiary to become a ubiquitous part of the modern earth's biot...
Distribution and habitat
The Fabaceae have an essentially worldwide distribution, being found everywhere except Antarctica and the high Arctic.The trees are often found in tropical regions, while the herbaceous plants and shrubs are predominant outside the tropics.
Biological nitrogen fixation
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF, performed by the organisms called diazotrophs) is a very old process that probably originated in the Archean eon when the primitive atmosphere lacked oxygen. It is only carried out by Euryarchaeota and just 6 of the more than 50 phyla of bacteria. Some of these lineages co-evolved together with the flowering plants establishing the molecular basis of a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. BNF is carried out in nodules that are mainly located in the ro...
A large number of species within many genera of leguminous plants, e.g. Astragalus, Coronilla, Hippocrepis, Indigofera, Lotus, Securigera and Scorpiurus, produce chemicals that derive from the compound 3-nitropropanoic acid (3-NPA, beta-nitropropionic acid). The free acid 3-NPA is an irreversible inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration, and thus the compound inhibits the tricarboxylic acid cycle. This inhibition caused by 3-NPA is especially toxic to nerve cells and represents a very general t...
Legumes are economically and culturally important plants due to their extraordinary diversity and abundance, the wide variety of edible vegetables they represent and due to the variety of uses they can be put to: in horticulture and agriculture, as a food, for the compounds they contain that have medicinal uses and for the oil and fats they contain that have a variety of uses.The Cockspur Coral Tree (Erythrina crista-galli), is the National Flower of Argentina and Uruguay.The Elephant ear tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) is the national tree of Costa Rica, by Executive Order of 31 August 1959.The Brazilwood tree (Caesalpinia echinata) has been the national tree of Brazilsince 1978.The Golden wattle Acacia pycnantha is Australia’s national flower.Fabaceae at the Angiosperm Phylogeny WebsiteLegumeWeb Database at the International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS)
- See Also
- External Links
The name of the tree in Latin, fagus (from whence the generic epithet), is cognate with English "beech" and of Indo-European origin, and played an important role in early debates on the geographical origins of the Indo-European people, the beech argument. Greek φηγός is from the same root, but the word was transferred to the oak tree (e.g. Iliad 16.767) as a result of the absence of beech trees in Greece. The German word for beech is "Buche," leading to the Buchenwald concentration campreceiving its name from the beech forest that surrounded the camp.
Recent classification systems of the genus recognize 10 to 13 species in two distinct subgenera, Engleriana and Fagus. The Engleriana subgenus is found only in East Asia, and is notably distinct from the Fagus subgenus in that these beeches are low-branching trees, often made up of several major trunks with yellowish bark. Further differentiating characteristics include the whitish bloom on the underside of the leaves, the visible tertiary leaf veins, and a long, smooth cupule-peduncle. F. japonica, F. engleriana, and the species F. okamotoi, proposed by the botanist Chung-Fu Shen in 1992, comprise this subgenus. The better known Fagus subgenus beeches are high-branching with tall, stout trunks and smooth silver-grey bark. This group includes F. sylvatica, F. grandifolia, F. crenata, F. lucida, F. longipetiolata, and F. hayatae. The classification of the European beech, F. sylvatica, is complex, with a variety of different names proposed for different species and subspecies within t...
The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is the most commonly cultivated, although few important differences are seen between species aside from detail elements such as leaf shape. The leaves of beech trees are entire or sparsely toothed, from 5–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 4–10 cm (2–4 in) broad. Beeches are monoecious, bearing both male and female flowers on the same plant. The small flowers are unisexual, the female flowers borne in pairs, the male flowers wind-pollinating catkins. They are produced in spring shortly after the new leaves appear. The bark is smooth and light grey. The fruit is a small, sharply three-angled nut 10–15 mm (3⁄8–5⁄8 in) long, borne singly or in pairs in soft-spined husks 1.5–2.5 cm (5⁄8–1 in) long, known as cupules. The husk can have a variety of spine- to scale-like appendages, the character of which is, in addition to leaf shape, one of the primary ways beeches are differentiated. The nuts are edible, with a bitter taste (though not nearly as bitter as acorns...
Britain and Ireland
Fagus sylvatica was a late entrant to Great Britain after the last glaciation, and may have been restricted to basic soils in the south of England. Some suggest that it was introduced by Neolithic tribes who planted the trees for their edible nuts. The beech is classified as a native in the south of England and as a non-native in the north where it is often removed from 'native' woods. Large areas of the Chilterns are covered with beech woods, which are habitat to the common bluebell and othe...
Fagus sylvatica is one of the most common hardwood trees in north central Europe, in France alone constituting about 15% of all nonconifers. Europe is also home to the lesser-known oriental beech (F. orientalis) and Crimean beech (F. taurica). As a naturally growing forest tree, beech marks the important border between the European deciduous forest zone and the northern pine forest zone. This border is important for wildlife and fauna. In Denmark and Scania at the southernmost peak of the Sca...
The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) occurs across much of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, with a disjunct population in Mexico. It is the only Fagus species in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to the Pleistocene Ice Age, it is believed to have spanned the entire width of the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, but now is confined to east of the Great Plains. F. grandifoliatolerates hotter climates than European species, but is not planted much as an ornamental...
Beech grows on a wide range of soil types, acidic or basic, provided they are not waterlogged. The tree canopy casts dense shade, and carpets the ground thickly with leaf litter. In North America, they can form beech-maple climax forests by partnering with the sugar maple. The beech blight aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) is a common pest of American beech trees. Beeches are also used as food plants by some species of Lepidoptera. Beech bark is extremely thin and scars easily. Since the beech tree has such delicate bark, carvings, such as lovers' initials and other forms of graffiti, remain because the tree is unable to heal itself.
Beech wood is an excellent firewood, easily split and burning for many hours with bright but calm flames. Slats of beech wood are washed in caustic soda to leach out any flavour or aroma characteristics and are spread around the bottom of fermentation tanks for Budweiser beer. This provides a complex surface on which the yeast can settle, so that it does not pile up, preventing yeast autolysis which would contribute off-flavours to the beer. Beech logs are burned to dry the malt used in German smoked beers. Beech is also used to smoke Westphalian ham, traditional andouille (an offal sausage) from Normandy,and some cheeses. Some drums are made from beech, which has a tone between those of maple and birch, the two most popular drum woods. The textile modal is a kind of rayon often made wholly from reconstituted celluloseof pulped beech wood. The European species Fagus sylvaticayields a utility timber that is tough but dimensionally unstable. It weighs about 720 kg per...Eichhorn, Markus (October 2010). "The Beech Tree". Test Tube. Brady Haran for the University of Nottingham.
How many species are there in the Fagaceae family?
Is the Quercus genus part of the Faga family?
What kind of fruit does a Faga tree produce?
Where did the order Fagales get its name from?
- External Links
Quercus vacciniifolia is a shrubby evergreen of the oak family, which grows generally less than 1.5 m (5 feet) tall and spreads horizontally, never becoming a tree. In the field, it is best identified from its clustered terminal buds, which is characteristic of all plants of the genus. Species are more easily identified in the presence of acorns. Acorns of Q. vacciniifolia mature in 2 years (biennial maturation) after pollination. Flowers and inflorescence characteristics are not used to significant extend in this genera. Quercus vacciniifolia can be easily confused with Quercus cedrosensis, which grows in dry chaparrals, such as California-Mexico border south, forests of Baja California and at higher elevations on Cedros Island. Morphologically, the two species differ in their leaf margins: while Q. vacciniifolia leaves are entire to mucro-toothed, Q. cedrosensis leavesare entire or have irregular spine-tipped teeth.
Quercus vacciniifolia is native to the western United States, where it can be found in the Sierra Nevada of California, where its distribution extends just into Nevada, and the Klamath Mountains and southern Cascade Range as far north as southern Oregon. It grows in high mountain forests. It also dominates sections of mountain chaparral.
Quercus vacciniifolia can be found in steep slopes, ridges, conifer forests, and sub-alpine forest, mostly in high montane area at altitudes of 150 to 2930 m. It is native of California, but can also be found in Oregon and Nevada. Hybridization between Q. vacciniifolia and Q. chrysolepis has been extensively reported in Sierra Nevada. Between the early and middle Holocene, 11000 and 5000 cal years BP, Q. vacciniifolia were an extensive shrub in the Klamath Mountains (at the northern portions of California), which had ultramafic soils. At this period, Q. vacciniifolia was a main fire developer due to its abundance, mid-height and resinous leaves. Today, Q. vacciniifoliararely forms dense chaparral-like stands, allowing fire resistant species to grow intermittently.
Many animal species use this shrub for food, including mule deer, which eat the leaves, and many birds and mammals, including the American black bear, which eat the acorns. The Quercus vacciniifolia plant is used in restoration, revegetation, and garden landscaping. It is good for preventing erosion, such as on the slopes above Lake Tahoeto slow the erosion that pollutes the lake.
A Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa cupule, split open to reveal the calybia. The calybium and the cupule make up the accessory fruit of flowering plants in the family Fagaceae. These two parts derive from different flower components. The cupule ...
- Distribution and Habitat
- Image Gallery
- Other Uses
Fagus sylvatica is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 50 m (160 ft) tall and 3 m (9.8 ft) trunk diameter, though more typically 25–35 m (82–115 ft) tall and up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) trunk diameter. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 4 m (13 ft) tall. It has a typical lifespan of 150–200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. In cultivated forest stands trees are normally harvested at 80–120 years of age. 30 years are needed to attain full maturity (as compared to 40 for American beech). Like most trees, its form depends on the location: in forest areas, F. sylvaticagrows to over 30 m (100 ft), with branches being high up on the trunk. In open locations, it will become much shorter (typically 15–24 m (50–80 ft)) and more massive. The leaves are alternate, simple, and entire or with a slightly crenate margin, 5–10 cm long and 3–7 cm broad, with 6–7 veins on each side of the leaf (7–10 veins in Fagus orientalis). When crenate, there is one point at each vein tip, neve...
The natural range extends from southern Sweden to northern Sicily, west to France, southern England, northern Portugal, central Spain, and east to northwest Turkey, where it intergrades with the oriental beech (Fagus orientalis), which replaces it further east. In the Balkans, it shows some hybridisation with oriental beech; these hybrid trees are named Fagus × taurica Popl. [Fagus moesiaca(Domin, Maly) Czecz.]. In the southern part of its range around the Mediterranean, it grows only in mountain forests, at 600–1,800 m (1,969–5,906 ft) altitude. Although often regarded as native in southern England, recent evidence suggests that F. sylvatica did not arrive in England until about 4000 BC, or 2,000 years after the English Channel formed after the ice ages; it could have been an early introduction by Stone age humans, who used the nuts for food. The beech is classified as a native in the south of England and as a non-native in the north where it is often removed from 'native' woods. L...
The root system is shallow, even superficial, with large roots spreading out in all directions. European beech forms ectomycorrhizas with a range of fungi including members of the genera Amanita, Boletus, Cantharellus, Hebeloma, Lactarius, and with the species Ramaria flavosaponaria;these fungi are important in enhancing uptake of water and nutrients from the soil. In the woodlands of southern Britain, beech is dominant over oak and elm south of a line from about north Suffolk across to Cardigan. Oak are the dominant forest trees north of this line. One of the most beautiful European beech forests called Sonian Forest (Forêt de Soignes/Zoniënwoud) is found in the southeast of Brussels, Belgium. Beech is a dominant tree species in France and constitutes about 10% of French forests. The largest virgin forests made of beech trees are Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh (8,800 ha (22,000 acres)) in Ukraine and Izvoarele Nerei (5,012 ha (12,380 acres) in one forest body) in Semenic-Chei...
European beech is a very popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens in temperate regions of the world. In North America, they are preferred for this purpose over the native F. grandifolia, which despite its tolerance of warmer climates, is slower growing, taking an average of 10 years longer to attain maturity. The town of Brookline, Massachusettshas one of the largest, if not the largest, grove of European beech trees in the United States. The 2.5 acres (1.0 ha) public park, called 'The Longwood Mall', was planted sometime before 1850 qualifying it as the oldest stand of European beeches in the United States. It is frequently kept clipped to make attractive hedges. Since the early 19th century there have been numerous cultivarsof European beech made by horticultural selection, often repeatedly; they include: 1. copper beech or purple beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea) – a mutation of the European beech which was first noted in 1690 in the "Possenwald" forest near the town of...'Pendula', Harlow Carr.The famous Upside-down Tree, Hyde Park, London, an example of F. sylvatica'pendula'.Beech planted on a march dyke (boundary hedge) in Scotland.Leaves of var. heterophylla 'Aspleniifolia', Belfast Botanic Garden
The wood of the European beech is used in the manufacture of numerous objects and implements. Its fine and short grain makes it an easy wood to work with, easy to soak, dye, varnish and glue. Steaming makes the wood even easier to machine. It has an excellent finish and is resistant to compression and splitting and it is stiff when flexed. Milling is sometimes difficult due to cracking. The density of the wood is 720 kg per cubic meter. It is particularly well suited for minor carpentry, particularly furniture. From chairs to parquetry (flooring) and staircases, the European beech can do almost anything other than heavy structural support, so long as it is not left outdoors. Its hardness make it ideal for making wooden mallets and workbench tops. The wood rots easily if it is not protected by a tar based on a distillate of its own bark (as used in railway sleepers). It is better for paper pulp than many other broadleaved trees though is only sometimes used for this, the high cellulo...
The nuts are eaten by humans and animals. Slightly toxic to humans if eaten in large quantities due to the tannins and alkaloidsthey contain, the nuts were nonetheless pressed to obtain an oil in 19th-century England that was used for cooking and in lamps. They were also ground to make flour, which could be eaten after the tannins were leached out by soaking. Primary Product AM 01, a smoke flavouring, is produced from Fagus sylvatica L.
Biscogniauxia nummularia(beech tarcrust) is an ascomycete primary pathogen of beech trees, causing strip-canker and wood rot. It can be found at all times of year and is not edible.
- Fire Ecology
Quercus hypoleucoides produces its flowers in the spring as most plants do. It grows in warm regions and is used as an ornamental due to its unusual foliage.Its species name, hypoleucoides, means "white underneath" and also happens to be the main way that it is distinguished from other oak trees. This species has acorns which are eaten by both squirrels and birds and even at times by humans. However, before it is safe for people to eat, the tannic acid must first be leached out due to its toxic qualities. 1. Bark: Is dark gray in color. It is thin with shallow, lighter-colored fissures and narrow ridges. 2. Twig: Reddish brown in color and are broadly triangular with a sharp point. Are slender to moderate, generally with white fuzz. The end buds are clustered. 3. Leaves: Are alternate, evergreen, simple, and narrowly oblong to lanceolate. They are usually 2 to 4 inches (5–10 cm) long, with edges revolute. Occasionally there are a few shallow teeth, a narrow pointed tip, and a leathe...
Quercus hypoleucoides is commonly found in moist canyons and on ridges. It also is found in coniferous forests and high elevated lands from 5,000 to 8,000 feet (1500–2400 meters) above sea level. Mountains of southern Arizona and New Mexico such as the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains, for example, have a pine-oak woodland at an elevation of roughly 5700 to 7200 feet (1710–2160 meters). Here, Quercus hypoleucoides can be found as well as other species of oak trees such as the Quercus arizonica, Q. emoryi, and Q. rugosa. Specimens have also been collected south of the international frontier, in Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Sinaloa.
Quercus hypoleucoidesis a vigorous post-fire resprouter and will form a multi-stem shrub in areas of repeated fire.
Quercus hypoleucoideshas been used for ornamental purposes. Its leaves have a unique contrast due to the very white, silver color of the bottom. Its acorns are a source of food for squirrels and birds. The taller trees also help to provide shade for animals below who need to get away from the strong rays of the sun.