Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Today’s offering is a departure from the usual floral genitalia.

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I found this specimen at Marquand Park in Princeton. This park sports a variety of ornamental trees. I believe this is a leaf of Fagus sylvatica, the European beech, likely the atropunicea variety, the same species as the “copper beech” shown in todays Orgasmic sparklers and single cask malt Scotch entry. Carotenoids and anthocyanins contribute to the coloration.

The Wellesley College Web of Species has a good description of Fagus sylvatica.

Beeches of both European and American origin have smooth grey bark, and have provided a tempting canvas for graffiti for years. From the Wellesley site:

Because of its soft, smooth bark, the beech is intimately connected with the written (or carved) word. It is believed that the first Sanskrit characters were carved on the bark of Fagus sylvatica. In fact, our word ‘book’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘boc’, meaning letter or character, which derives from ‘beece’, beech.

Even Virgil succumbed to carving beech bark:

“Or shall I rather the sad verse repeat
Which on the beech’s bark I lately writ?”
-Virgil, 70-19 B.C.E.