Fagus sylvatica’Heterophylla’(Cut Leaf Beech)

Cut Leaf Beech, Woodstock, County Kilkenny

Cut Leaf Beech, Woodstock, County Kilkenny

Cut Leaf Beech

Scientific Name – Fagus sylvatica var heterophylla ‘Asplenifolia’

The European beech is a native tree of most of temperate Europe from Norway to the Mediterranean and south to northern Spain. In Mediterranean regions it occurs only at higher elevations and in western and central Europe it grows on a wide range of soils. It is native to the south of England and is thought to have been introduced into Ireland in the late 16th Century and planted widely on estates for aesthetic and commercial reasons.

The cut leaf beech was developed c. 1820 in Europe. It was planted frequently in parks and large gardens as an ornamental tree. The leaves are cut and lobed and often willow like. Where branches are cut or damaged, as in Woodstock, ordinary beech leaves will appear. This is because the tree is a ‘chimaera’ and has inner tissues of ordinary beech overlaid by the tissues of the cut leaf form.