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.

This tree is eligible for a $100 Tree Rebate.

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