One of the sweetest and most delicately flavored of our native nuts is
the little, triangular _beechnut_. The tree is common and widely
distributed, but few people know anything about the nut. In Kentucky the
nuts used to be plentiful, but I have seen none in New York. It is said
that a beech-tree must be fully forty years old before it will bear
fruit, and that may be the reason the nuts are not oftener found.
The soft-shelled nut is very small, no larger than the tip of your
little finger. The color is pale brown, and it is three-sided with sharp
angles. It is contained in a small, prickly husk and grows both solitary
or in clusters of two or three. When touched by frost the burr opens and
allows the nut to fall out while the burr remains on the tree.
The bark of the beech-tree is ashy gray, and the leaf is oblong, pointed
at the tip, toothed on the edge, and strongly veined.