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Fagus grandifolia

American Beech

Family Fagaceae

Nuts, flour, coffee, oil. Roasted seeds can be eaten, ground into flour,
or ground and perked like coffee. Crushing the seed produces a vegetable oil.


Growth Form: Large tree.

Leaves: 6-13cm (2.5-5in) long, simple, elliptical, coarsely toothed, pointed tip, short petiole.

Flowers: Male flowers are small and yellowish, female flowers are smaller and with hairy reddish scales. Early spring.

Leaves (Hannah Ramer. Peru, MA)

Bud and closed beech nut (Emily Silver. Peru, MA)
Bud and closed beech nut

Fruits: 12-19mm (0.5-0.75in), brown, prickly spheres, splitting in 4 parts in the fall revealing 2 triangular nuts, these are roughly 15mm (.63in) long, shiny light brown.

Buds: Very long, narrow, scaly.

Bark: Gray, tight, smooth, thin.

Habitat and Range

Rich moist soils, especially in upland forests Michigan to Cape Breton Island, south to Florida and Texas.


Nuts should be harvested after they have fallen to the ground, especially after the first frosts, in fall.

Beech nuts (Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)

Bark (Hannah Ramer. North Hampton, MA)

Fun Facts

Trees in the northern United States and Canada seem to produce larger quantities of nuts than trees in other regions.

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