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BiologyBeech trees begin to produce leaves in March or April, and flower in April or May (5). The oil-rich nuts are produced in September and October, and were once used to feed livestock; pigs and cattle were released into beech woodlands to allow them to feed on the 'mast' (4). Nuts are also eaten by chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs), wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) and other birds (6). The leaves take quite some time to rot fully, and beech woods are carpeted with a deep layer of leaf litter, which prevents other plants from becoming established. Beech woods are consequently somewhat devoid of woodland flowers and other understory plants (3). There is very little folklore or local custom associated with the beech. It is chiefly admired as a landscape tree for its grace and elegance, and has been used for firewood, as a fuel for ironworks and the glass industry, and by the eighteenth century it began to be used for timber (4). Many beeches were pollarded, which produced thin poles of wood out of the reach of browsers such as deer (6).