American Beech
Family: Fagaceae (View Members of Fagaceae)

Genus and species: Fagus grandifolia

Leaves: The leaves of this tree are 2-4" (5-10cm) long and 1.5-3" (4-8cm) wide.(View Measured Leaf) They are ovate and the edges are lined uniformly with small teeth. The leaves are long-pointed at the tips with straight parallel side veins that are barely sunken. The edges are coarsely saw-toothed and have the leaves have short stalks. They are dark green on top and paler and hairless beneath.(View Leaves)

Bark: The bark is smooth and light gray in color. (View Bark) The twigs are slender and have long scaly buds at the tips.

Fruit: The fruit is 0.5-0.75" (12-19mm) long and is light brown prickly burs that have short stalks. When ripe, they split into two nuts that are shiny brown (beechnuts).

Tree: The tree is 60-80' (18-24m) tall, with a large rounded crown. The branches are long and spreading, as pictured to the left.

Range and Habitat: The American Beech can commonly be found from Ontario east to Maine, south to Florida, west to Texas and north to Michigan. It tends to naturally be found in rich soils that are well-drained.

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American Beech Tree (Easton, NY, 10/18/02)