American beech


Beech nut

Introduction

Tall and wide with unique smooth bark, the American beech is a sturdy tree that offers plenty of shade and grows in over half of the United States.

More detail: American beech’s Tree of the Month.

Common Name

American beech

Latin Name

Fagus grandifolia

Leaf

Dark green, simple and sparsely-toothed with small teeth

Flower

Male flowers borne on globose* heads hanging from a slender 1-inch stalk; female flowers borne on shorter spikes

Fruit

Small, sharply-angled nuts that are commonly borne in pairs in a soft-spined, four-lobed husk

Twig/branches

Very slender, zigzag, and light brown in color

Bark

Very smooth with a silver-gray color

Form

Quite rounded crown canopy

Size

Usually 66 to 115 feet tall

Native Range

Eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario in southeastern Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida in the United States

Type

Large deciduous shade tree

Seasonal Colors

Leaves stay on well into fall and acquire a yellow-tan color; stays green in spring and summer

Soil

Grows best in moist, well-drained soil

Light

Grows well in the shade; abundant in mature forests

Similar Species

Mexican beech

Pests and Diseases

Beech bark disease, caused by a bark beetle and the fungus Nectria, is a major killer of American beech trees.

Rebate Eligibility

$100

Of Note

An American beech in Louisville, KY, has the inscription “D. Boone kilt a bar,” authenticated to have been carved in the late 18th century.

Beech nuts were one of the primary foods of the now-extinct passenger pigeon.

Beech bark disease has become a major killer of beech trees in the northeastern United States.

Photo Credits

milesizz
geneva_wirth
K. P. McFarland
Raul654
Dendroica cerulea