American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
This tree is characterized by smooth gray bark and long cigar-shaped brown buds on twigs. Initials are frequently carved in the smooth bark. Because trees grow in girth, the position of an initial will grow out with time but not up. The word “book” comes from the Old English word for beech, apparently from the use of blocks of beech wood as writing tablets. These trees often live up to 400 years. The fruits are edible nuts.
To learn more about American beech, visit its profile at the USDA Plants Database