Keele University Arboretum
Explore this Section
Fern-leaved Beech - Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia'
Origin: this is a frequently-planted tree in parks and gardens. Where branches are cut or damaged, the replacement leaves will be those of the Common Beech because the plant is a "chimaera".
Consider a graft between the top of one tree and the base or rootstock of another. Occasionally a bud arising from the union point grows into a mixture of the two plants with the core of one plant being wrapped in a "skin" of the other. This skin being only a cell thick.
In the Fern-leaved Beech we have core of Common Beech wrapped in a "skin" of the cut-leaved form. This chimaera is usually stable but, when branches are damaged, the new growth may revert to that of the core type. Hence we get leaves of the Common Beech form occurring amongst the Fern-leaved type.
At Keele : we have one mature tree; compartment 17; square Q12. It is growing by the side of the path in a small clearing. The line of the graft can be seen.