As much as it pains me to see a tree defaced in anyway, I could hardly argue with the sentiments left in this message! The very smooth bark of the American Beech Tree (Fagus grandifolia) lends itself to whims of any passerby with a knife and a need to proclaim their love for someone else, or in this case, something else. As a result, the American Beech is nicknamed the Love Letter Tree. The next time you are on a walk and you see a tree trunk proclaiming the love of numerous couples, more than likely it is a Beech tree.
Beech trees are fairly easy to identify. First, there is the smooth light grey bark. Their leaves are alternate (not in pairs), somewhat oval, with a toothed edge. The veins of the leaves coming from the midrib (the main vein going up the center of the leave) end at the point of each tooth.
There is another interesting thing about Beech trees; they tend to hold their leaves in the winter, even though they are a deciduous tree (a tree that drops its leaves). However, the leaves are quite dead. This struck me funny because I had not noticed this when I lived further north. This is something that can happen when conditions have not allowed the development of tissue that closes off the spot where the leave’s stem meets the branch. It can also occur in young trees, which is why I think I do not remember seeing it where I used to live because the forests were much older than the ones where I currently live.
Anyway, unlike the many recorded initials of couples probably long broken up, I am fairly sure that the author of the love affair with blue cheese is still going strong.