Windshield full of royal purple magnificence

Steven reports:

Whenever I drive in New England, I enjoy seeing magnificent purple leaf beeches (Fagus sylvatica, in all its dark-leaf varieties). These trees belong in our 45 mph department because even non-gardeners notice their color and size.

There is no finer specimen tree; so beautiful it overwhelms one at first glance... - Michael Dirr -
This purple leaf beech tree is typical of those that become stars on my map as I drive in New England. The "Baby Bear" tree on the left is a red leaf Japanese maple.

This purple leaf beech tree is typical of those that become stars on my map as I drive in New England. The "Baby Bear" tree on the left is a red leaf Japanese maple.

I was traveling near Mystic, Connecticut when the crown of this purple beech took my breath away.

No question about it, I had to stop, park and walk to see this tree! 

This may qualify as the "Mother of all Purple Beeches." At any rate, I don't think I've ever seen one with a larger crown. It goes all the way across the street.

 

My awe increased with every step.

The trunk fills most of the front yard. I wonder how long this plant has been there. Beeches grow quickly when they're young -- my own 25-year old beech is almost 35' tall and wide -- but they slow down once they start producing nuts. So this one, perhaps twice the size of some I know to be a hundred years old, may be more than twice that age... The stories it must be able to tell if we could only listen.