One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The angular brown nuts of the beech tree, pairs of which are enclosed in a prickly case.
- ‘In autumn, when the acorns, beechmasts and chestnuts start to fall, they are a source of food for birds, squirrels and the Parks deer.’
- ‘The grey squirrel's diet consists mainly of nuts - especially acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and hazelnuts - but they eat a variety of other foods, including fruit, cereal crops, fungi and roots.’
- ‘When beechmast is exhausted, bramblings will flock with other finches on arable land, feeding on any weed seeds or grain.’
- ‘Acorns and beechmast were fed to pigs, but when food was scarce they could be ground and eaten by people too.’
- ‘Since beechmast are relatively heavy, they are not blown away by the wind but fall to the foot of the parent tree.’
- ‘In the fall, it will eat beechmasts, or beech tree nuts, and acorns and is not averse to raiding cornfields and orchards.’
- ‘Every autumn I would spend days there, watching the turning colours or grubbing for mushrooms and beechmast and knapped flints.’
Late 16th century: from beech + mast.
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