American Beech

Fagus grandifolia

American Beech: Full Tree
  • Family: Fagaceae

  • Large-sized tree

  • Rounded crown

  • Reaches height between 18-24m (60-80’)

Photo by Jason Biggerstaff

Leaves
Twigs & Fruiting Structures
Bark
Distribution and Uses

Leaves

  • Elliptical or egg-shaped; 6-13cm (2½-5”) in length

  • Sharply saw-toothed with straight parallel side veins; long-pointed at tip

  • Dull dark blue-green above; light green and hairless below

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American Beech: Leaves - Click for larger image
American Beech: Fruit - Click for larger image

Twigs & Fruiting Structures

  • Thin twigs with short side twigs

  • Long, thin, hairless, buds with many scales

  • End buds true

  • Click here for image of flowers

  • Small, shiny brown, triangular nuts (beechnuts) in light brown spiny burs; usually 2 nuts per bur

Photo by Jason Biggerstaff

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Bark

  • Smooth, grey, thin; remains smooth through adult life

Distribution & Uses

  • Prefers moist, fertile soils and well-drained lowlands

  • Distribution includes most of Eastern United States from Eastern Texas north to Eastern Wisconsin and then East to Florida, Maine, and Cape Breton Island, Canada

  • Fair wood quality; timber used for fuel, tool handles, veneer, and cheap furniture

  • Planted for ornamentation and shade; nuts eaten by much wildlife, including wild turkeys, black bears, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, porcupines, opossums, and deer

Photo by Jason Biggerstaff

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American Beech: Bark - Click for larger image