American beech is actually easier to identify in winter than in summer, even at 60 mph, because it holds onto its dead leaves all winter. The reason? The ancestors of beeches evolved in the tropics where plants photosynthesize year-round. Beeches just happened to keep a tight grip on their leaves when they moved north.
Have you ever taken a close look at mosses? They’re simply elegant, and you can find them almost anywhere. They’re not that hard to tell apart especially with Ralph Pope’s moss field guide, so why not get to know them?