Fagus sylvatica - European Beech
Family: Fagaceae

Hear the scientific name

Fagus sylvatica is a graceful, slow-growing, large tree for shade or specimen usage. European Beech has many cultivars available for growth habit and foliage variation.

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  form2 form Form

-large deciduous tree

-maturing at 60' tall x 40' wide

-upright oval growth habit for the species and many cultivars

-slow growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green and short-petioled

-ovate to elliptical, entire or somewhat crenate along the margins, usually with an undulating margin

-autumn color yellowish green, golden, or yellow-brown


-separate male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious), flowering in late Apr. and early May

-flowers are relatively insignificant and partially obscured by the expanding foliage


-three-sided nuts, from 1-3 nuts per fruit, exposed as the bristly husk splits open in Sept. and Oct.

-readily devoured by squirrels and larger birds


-somewhat thin stems, olive to brown, with prominently long, pointed, tan winter buds

-twigs often lie more or less within the plane of the branch, for a layered branching habit

trunk2 trunk Trunk

-very thin and smooth, medium gray, and quite ornamental in winter

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-full sun to partial shade

-performs best in deep, moist, well-drained, slightly acid soils

-propagated by grafting or seeds

-Beech Family, with no disease or pest problems of significance, but does not respond well to urban stresses

-many cultivars are allowed to branch to just above the ground

-abundant availability in B&B form, including many cultivars


-zones 5 to 7


-native to Europe

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-dense shade at maturity

-branching nearly to the ground

-graceful or architecturally interesting branching, depending upon cultivar

-smooth medium-gray bark

-several foliage and growth habit variants

-nuts attract wildlife in autumn


-slow growth

-awkwardly and sparsely branched in youth

-not urban tolerant

-surface roots with age


-specimen, focal point, or wildlife attraction tree


-medium to fine texture in foliage and fine-textured when bare

-thick density in foliage and when bare (except in youth, when the branching is sparse and quite open)

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-large shade or specimen trees with alternative broadleaf foliage colors (Acer platanoides 'Crimson King', 'Crimson Sentry', 'Drummondi', etc., Liriodendron tulipifera 'Aureomarginatum'; other species of trees exist with this trait, but they are often weak-growing)


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