Skip to main content


Copper Beech – The Phantom Tree

Despite its darkness, there are many shades to the copper beech. It’s a tree that changes by the hour as the sunlight adjusts its angle throughout the day. There is a great deal of variation between trees as well as striking differences within the same tree at different times of the day and year, the copper beech is a tree of contrasts and inbetweens.

An early morning slant of light slices in through the branches and illuminates the internal structure of the copper beech in a joyously revealing way. It is a light of a certain quality, produced only by a beech, one that can illuminate one’s perception like the grandest of cathedrals, the smooth grey pillars contrasting with the deep maroon and striking green of the under canopy. The light sifts through the delicate new leaves to create a tangible orange light that falls gently upon the retinas and coaxes one into some sort of beech bubble, and alternate dimension and state of mind where everything is softened by golden beech light.

In contrast, one example of a Copper Beech on Bushy Coombe has a particularly dark colouring. In the deepest reaches of its canopy, close to the main trunk, where the foliage is densest, lies a colour that is blacker than black. It’s so black, in fact, that texture, depth and definition are lost and one’s stare is swallowed by the vast dark space. A moody tree, at times it seems to dress itself deliciously in light, while at other times it adorns its invisibility cloak and despite its stature and presence it manages to subtly merge with its surroundings.

Sometimes the copper beech disappears altogether like some sort of arboreal phantom drifting into the realms of Vantablack, a silhouette of a tree shape providing the only clue to its presence in the overstory.

Matt Witt – 25/05/2020


I love producing art, music and words for others to enjoy. So that I can continue provide this valuable public service, please consider making a small donation, or buying me a coffee here:

Buy Me a Coffee at

Matt Witt

Author Matt Witt

More posts by Matt Witt