Beech grove

“Beech groveThis ‘grove’ is typical of the way beech (Fagus sylvatica) asserts itself within the woods. Their dense crowns cast deep shade; their roots hungrily extract nutrients and moisture from the soil; and their fallen leaves are not only slow to decompose but they also release a toxin that suppresses germination in other plant species. These factors combine to create swathes of ground left bare apart from a carpet of leaves.

photo: © Fran Halsall