Asked September 08, 2016, 12:47 PM EDT
Lane County Oregon
First is to ID the tree to make sure it is a beech nut.
Second, beech nuts are tyowially not grown in the Willamette Valley. The articles mean they are difficult to grow here. Research found no university info on beech nuts.
My general rule is -- like with mushrooms, if they are poisonous, don't eat them until you are an expert in the field or with beech nut. Since the article found are NOT university, founded, read with caution
Beechnuts appear to be safe, if perhaps not all that palatable. They are usually pressed for oil, as they have a high oil content, and can also be roasted for coffee. The oil is used in cooking in Europe, and the nuts are often fed to farm animals. As for creosote... it didn't come up in any of the searches that we did regarding edibility, but it is very possible that it is a compound produced by the wood or leaves, for example. There are a large number of plants that are toxic or poisonous in some part though humans eat other parts - for example, the green parts of tomato plants, or cherry pits.
Hope that's helpful!
This article says that beech nuts are OK if dried or roasted but if eaten while still green, they have some toxic characteristics.
This article was good as it talks more about the tree, different cultivars and how to grow the tree. This person also says the nuts have “fagin” which is slightly toxic.
The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plans and Mushroom
-talks about fagin in European beech nuts. Also a good article.
Answer - eating beechnuts - there is a risk.