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... the difference between Beech and the somewhat similar common Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)is that Hornbeam has about twice as many secondary veins, clearly visible: and the leaf margins on Hornbeam are toothed, not entire.
And both of them exhibit marcescence (delayed abscission) whereby they hold their dead leaves over the winter, up to a height of about 6-7' or so.
How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
I think I might have passed a Hornbeam last night without snapping it, must see if I can post a possible hornbeam in the near future. Not one I am readily familiar with.
You are likely to find them both as hedges: they do look somewhat similar!
Near to where I live is a massive, mature Hornbeam tree, with a huge trunk, and running under it is a clipped beech hedge, which has three odd individual hornbeam plants in amongst it.
I assume that the builder/landscaper ordered a job lot for the hedging and couldn't tell the difference when they were planted!
Or possibly, thinking about it, the Hornbeam seeded all around, and the ones in the hedgeline went un-weeded?
sorry for getting your name wrong above, yeah the small ones might be offspring of the big one but they might have been part of the planting that went on when the hedge was put in. Thanks for comments, Ive been trying to spot hornbeam so that I can get familiar with them.
Lat/Lng: 55.0809, -6.0626
OS grid ref: NW408838