619, 629, 703 – American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a large deciduous tree often 50-70’ tall (maximum 161’) with a spreading, crown and short trunk. Leaves are 4” long, pointed, toothed and have many straight parallel veins. In contrast to the European or common beech (Fagus sylvatica),, which has less than 10 pairs of veins, the American beech leaf exhibits 11 to 15 pairs of veins. Fall color is golden yellow and often retains pale straw-colored leaves through winter. Twigs are slender and zigzag with strikingly slender pointed buds. Bark is gray, smooth and often defaced with carvings, but never ridged or scaly. Fruit is a 4-part husk with hooked prickles that are ¾” long and open at maturity to reveal 1-3 small nuts. The nuts are an important source of food for many forest animals. The root system is shallow and extensive, often producing suckers from the spread roots, crowding out nearby trees. Beech trees are very shade tolerant and like the sugar maple and hemlock are found in climax forests. This tree may live for 300 to 400 years. Native to eastern North America and northeastern Mexico, American beech has long been cultivated but is less tolerate of urban settings compared to the European beech.
Specimen Provenance: Local nursery
Common name: American Beech
Scientific Name (order and family): Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart (Fagales, Fagaceae)
Origin: Eastern North America
Habit: Large spreading tree, 66-115 feet tall.
Trunk/Stem: Smooth silver-gray bark; winter twigs characteristically slender and sharp tipped.
Leaves: Deciduous, alternate, simple. Fifteen veined leaf (compared to the seven to eight of the European beech); margins sparsely-toothed with small teeth that terminate in vein. Short petiole.
Fruits and Seeds: Fruit small sharply angled nut born in pair surrounded by a four-lobed husk.