The leaves of the copper beech are alternate, simple, entire margined (no teeth) and highly imbricate, or overlapping. This arrangement is very efficient for the tree because it means it can capture the maximum amount of sunlight. However, it also means that the ground beneath is heavily shaded and also doesn't receive as much rainfall. In a forest dominated by beech trees you are likely to find the ground covered in rotting leaves and fungi, rather than other understory plants and flowers. The leaves, when very young, are edible. One interesting behaviors in beeches is that they do not lose their leaves in the fall. Instead they may remain dry and brown on the tree until spring. This phenomenon is called marcescence and occurs most frequently in saplings and when the trees are clipped into hedges and on the lower branches of mature trees. This particular tree shows partial marcescence, typical of an individual this size.